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Natural moms (aka "birth" moms in adoption-speak): How do people react when they learn you are a mother who gave up a child for adoption?


Asked by Anonymous at 1:06 PM on Oct. 14, 2009 in Adoption

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Answers (26)
  • ***Then what comments are correct??? Any recommendations or is it better not to comment at all? ***

    I've had the silence (not commenting at all) at times, and honestly, that was better than the, "brave, selfless, wonderful gift, etc . . . " responses I normally receive.

    What I will always remember as a response that didn't leave me wanting to get away as soon as I possibly could was from a mom in my daughter's class. Instead of congratulating or pitying me, she simply asked me questions about my son. What was his name? How old was he? How did my daughter like having three older brothers . . . etc.

    I was just another mom she was talking to about her child. I wasn't different. She'd didn't worry that I was heartbroken or praise me for such a brave thing. I was just normal, plain and simple.

    On the flipside of that though is the reaction I get now that I have adopted back my oldest son. For the most part, it ...

    Answer by bellacocco at 11:23 AM on Oct. 15, 2009

  • Most people aren't unkind, but have no idea how to respond. I can see their discomfort on their faces as you see their mind whirling at just what the appropriate response should be.

    Often times because they haven't ever had to respond to this before, what they say is meant to be comforting, or sympathetic but due to lack of understanding and the general stigma and perceptions that society has held onto about women who relinquish their words can sting.

    I try to remember that most of the time how people respond is related to their own level of experience with a topic - and a dependency on what society defines adoption and relinquishing as.

    I see each interaction as an opportunity to help that person become more comfortable with talking about these things. After all as many as 1 in every 8 US citizens has been impacted personally by adoption - shouldn't we be more comfortable talking about it?

    Answer by PortAngeles1969 at 1:26 PM on Oct. 14, 2009

  • I have not found a need to talk to people I do not know about my surrender. All the ones whom know me and count already know. I have told Doctors, when asked for medical reasons...but they do not ever have a response. I hope this answers your question:) I have never walked up to people and felt a need to divulge ANY part of my life, but most certainly, never discussed my personal life with 'strangers"! Blessings, C.J.

    Answer by ceejay1 at 4:07 PM on Oct. 14, 2009

  • @Ceejay1: What about if someone asks you about children, ie. "how many kids do you have?"

    For others, what if you reunite years later and your coworkers, friends, neighbors etc. now suddenly know of your relinquished child? How do they react?

    Answer by maybe09 at 5:20 PM on Oct. 14, 2009

  • I have been fortunate.....nearly everyone I have told about my son at reunion has taken the news in stride and been kind and supportive. All the fears I harbored for years were unfounded. The major exception was the children that I raised. They were very upset and judgmental.

    Since there are so many misconceptions about birth mothers, I try to take every opportunity that I can to educate others about my status as a birth/natural mother. I feel a sense of obligation to educate people about adoption.

    Answer by Southernroots at 5:36 PM on Oct. 14, 2009

  • Maybe, You are under the assumption, that I go into our community frequently( or not)...I live on a farm, and go into town 1 time a week, and usually to do farm business. I have lived in this farming community now for 10+ yrs., and am not a highly social person. I like being on our farm, and takin care of business. Now , if someone asks how many children I have, and they are not a'friend", I simply answer 3 , and the conversation moves on. When I go to the city 1 times per month, and say a nail tech./pedicurist, or stylist ask me, I say the same, and again, no one ever questions me, the conversation goes on:) If I am ever Blessed enough to reunite, I will still answer honestly, and will take whatever comes my way. I will never disrespect, the Birth of any of my children, Blessings, C.J.

    Answer by ceejay1 at 7:33 PM on Oct. 14, 2009

  • The major exception was the children that I raised. They were very upset and judgmental.-SR

    SR-I have heard others make the same comment. Why do you think this is? Fear?

    Answer by doodlebopfan at 7:51 PM on Oct. 14, 2009

  • Most of the time, when I tell them I have a child I surrendered, I am met with curosity and some questions. But once it is revealed that my surrendered child is the younger of my two children, that curiosity is often replaced with disgust.

    But I refuse to keep her existence a secret. In the beginning, it really hurt when people made rude comments, but now I just tell them to kiss my ass if they don't like it. They asked, I answered. Don't get your panties in a friggin' wad if you don't like my responses.

    Answer by randi1978 at 8:05 PM on Oct. 14, 2009

  • I can't answer for SR's adult children's reaction . I only have the experience that my own boys (who I parented after the relinquishment of my daughter) had. They always knew and I got some pretty blunt and wonderfuly honest direct questions from them about "why their older sister wasn't with them". Some of those questions included things along the lines of, "why would a mommy give away her baby?", "Are you going to give me away too if I do something bad?", etc.

    I can only surmise that finding at an older age that you had a sibling that was relinquished might still bring a form of those questions but being older the ramifications of thinking about those questions would have a deeper impact. Similar to how adoptees are more highly impacted when they find out they are adopted at an older age. Omissions = withholding truth and that rocks a child's trust in the person who withheld the information.

    Ya know I love ya SR!!

    Answer by PortAngeles1969 at 8:59 PM on Oct. 14, 2009

  • "SR-I have heard others make the same comment. Why do you think this is? Fear? "

    My friend PortAngeles is right, telling adults about another sibling often has a deeper impact. My children are all adults, some with children of their own. I think had I told them when they were much younger, their reaction might have been different, and I believe it was a huge mistake not to tell them years ago. But, I told no one.

    I do not fully understand why my two children reacted as strongly as they did. I think it was a combination of many things. They seem to resent my relinquished son for finding me, and wish that he had not. They would prefer never to have known about him or his adoption, partially because it changed their perceptions of me. It's many situations in adoption can be. Thinking that they knew their mother, and then finding out there was a huge part of me they never knew was disturbing to them.

    Answer by Southernroots at 9:38 PM on Oct. 14, 2009

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