"birthmoms" Exploited By Adoption
   "The horrors of war pale beside the loss of a child." - Joe Soll, C.S.W.

DISEMBABYMENT -  How Our Babies Were Taken 
"Why BIRTHMOTHER Means BREEDER" by Diane Turski
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birthmother stories

"There was no choice." - Debbie
When I hear people talk about our "choice to relinquish"I want them to know that for many of us, there was no choice.

It was 1980 and I was 17 years old when I gave birth to my first child. I was single, a grade-twelve student in high school. I had been hidden away by my parents during the time I was pregnant, living in a wage-home, so that the relatives would not find out. But I never expected what was going to happen to me once I was in the hospital giving birth — no-one warned me that my baby would be taken.

I went into labour at 1 am in the morning. My parents drove me to the Victoria General Hospital on Fairfield Road and signed me in. I expected a normal labour and delivery, with nothing out of the ordinary. I didn"t expect to be treated differently because I was "unwed."

After being admitted, I remember being wheeled into a storage closet, on a gurney, and given sleeping pills and left alone for the night to "sleep" for the first 6 or so hours of my labour. But the labour pains kept me awake. The nurse checked on me part-way through the night and I told her I had been unable to sleep. I can"t remember if she gave me more sleeping pills or not.

In the morning, I had been awake for 24 hours. Being in labour, I was not permitted anything to eat or drink. The resident or intern gave me Demerol for the pain, which only made me disoriented and nauseous.

By the time I was fully dilated, at about 5 pm, I had been awake for 30 hours, without food or drink for the last 18.

I remember being wheeled into a cold white-lit delivery room and strapped flat on my back to a delivery table, feet up in stirrups, my arms bound to the table with leather straps — at the time i thought it was to keep me from falling down and to protect my baby from germs.

My baby was immediately whisked out of the room the moment the cord was cut. I could not even catch a glimpse of him. (He was still my son legally, and was taken without my permission. This how the system worked " to try to prevent me from bonding with him so I would surrender him.) I passed out as the episiotomy was sewn up (the same way it was made " without anesthesia).

I woke up in a hospital room a few hours later.  I was too weak to walk.  No-one would tell me about my baby and I was too scared to ask about seeing him " I was afraid they"d say "no." I also had no idea that i had the right to see him. The nurses told me to sleep and I was given heavy sedation. On about the third day, when I could finally shuffle some distance, finally I asked if I was allowed to see him.  The nurse said yes, much to my surprise.  He was in a nursery far down the hall from my room.  The doctor had put me into the gynecology ward rather than the maternity ward.  Weak, and hurting from bruises and a 4-inch-long stitched-up episiotomy, i slowly walked alone to the other end of the hospital wing to see my baby.

I had no idea that seeing my baby, for the first time, would change my life.

I fell in love with my son as soon as I saw him.  MOTHER-LOVE.  A love that comes from the blood and the body and the soul.  No-one had told that when he was born, I would ALSO be reborn, as a MOTHER.  No-one had told me about the instincts, the bond of one-soul-two-bodies, the shared-needs of mother-and-baby, the NEED TO BE WITH MY CHILD!!!! This is the reality of birth " that happens to all women. This is what I found out about, first-hand.

I loved my baby more than life itself.  With all my heart, with every cell in my body, I loved him and I wanted to hug and hold him and keep him!!!!!

But as I stood there in the nursery, the nurses kept a watchful eye on me to ensure I didn"t pick him up. I felt I was trespassing, just being there, committing a crime just by looking at him sleeping in his bassinet.

I wanted to keep my baby, but the social worker had other plans. She came to my hospital room to give me papers to sign " both adoption papers and the "registration of live birth" papers. I began questioning adoption, so she laid on the pressure and my parents did also. The social worker told me that it was too late to change my mind.   She sent in another of her "clients" who had surrendered a son three months previously, to talk me into it, telling me in glowing terms how it was such a wonderful thing to do. The social worker said that I was too young to be a parent and that my son needed a two-parent family. She also implied that the hormones from birth were making me irrational. And my parents were firm that there was NO WAY I could bring home my baby " I was already a family shame to them.

I cried when I signed those papers a few days after his birth " but the adults around me all told me that I had no alternative.  They said it was the best thing for my baby and that (in my parent eyes) the main thing was that I was giving joy to a childless couple. Whatever papers I signed in the social worker"s office, I was never given a copy. No lawyer was there to explain my rights to me.  I was never told if welfare for single mothers under the age of 19 was available.

All I could do was to tell the social worker that I would be back for my son in 19 years, when I was legally allowed to search for him, and to tell the adopters that. I also asked for her to ask them to write me a letter to tell me how he was doing. She promised that she would tell them this. The letter never arrived.

And NO-ONE told me the truth about the aftermath. No-one told me about the consequences (grief, pain, loss), although I have found since that the social work profession at that time WAS well-aware of them.  Part of me died when that final phone call from the social worker came, telling me that my precious baby had been picked up from the hospital. {Twenty-four years later, I still cry those tears and relive those moments emotionally, over and over again. Reunion released the repressed memories and emotions from deep inside me. The flash-backs are horrendous and often paralyze me " re-experiencing the pain and memories over and over again as if I am actually there. As well, the physical effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have landed me in the emergency ward 4 times with my upper intestine tying itself into knots }

So, having lost my son and with my emotions frozen in a state of shock, I finished off Grade 12 in 4 months, but eight or so months later the shock wore off, and I spent the next two years failing at university while trying to cope with the deep pain of losing my son.  The pain of what happened to us both led to the break-up of my relationship with my soul-mate.

And no-one ever told me about the pain that would never go away " the extreme pain and loss that is a hundred times worse than losing a close relative to death (comparing it to when my brother and father died).  And my soul-mate fled into doing drugs to deal with his own pain.

All I had left was the waiting game:  counting down the years, months, and weeks until I was legally allowed to find my son again. I tried searching for him myself, even hiring a P.I. when he was about 8 or 9, but I had no success in finding him.  I had three more children in the meantime, in order to try to fill that "black hole" in my heart.  It didn"t work.  I found out the hard way that no child can ever replace another child. That the pain does NOT go away.

This is my story.  I never ceased to love my son.  I never ceased to miss him.   And the anger that i feel at myself for failing to find a way to keep him is stronger than any anger he might feel towards me. But it comes down to this: I was a 17 year old mother, manipulated and used as a broodmare to produce a baby for the social worker"s customers. When an underage woman is coerced by adults into having sex, it"s called sexual exploitation. What about when they take advantage of her fertility for profit? It is reproductive exploitation!

When I read the messages from young women on "birthparent" message boards, saying how they think that adoption is the best thing for their child, I wish there was some way I could let them know the truth about what they will experience. I would not wish this existance " the pain I feel every moment of every day " even on my worst enemy. And when I hear adoptees talk about our "choice to relinquish" " I want them to know that for many of us, there was no choice.

Reunion Postscript: when my son was 19, my sentence for fertility-beyond-marriage ended and I was finally legally-allowed to search for him. My banishment from his life was over. I searched for him and found him. And when I looked into his eyes, our souls recognized each other, and I recognized my child whom I lost to adoption so long ago. I broke down uncontrollably crying as the walls broke down inside me and the grief that I had buried for 20 years came to the surface. My strong, tall, broad-shouldered, blue-eyed son hugged me until I was able to stop crying. My beloved son is once more reunited with his family " our family " and with his Papa (what he calls his natural father). He is again using his birth-name, lives with us, and we both hope in the future for me to able to adopt him back so we can legally be family once again. And my heart heals a little bit more each time he hugs me and says "I love you, Mom."

The Premise: "Adoption practice works on the premise that, in order to save the child, one must first destroy its mother." - Dian Wellfare, founder of Origins Inc.

The Proof: "R----- has only one mother, Karen, and one father, me. R----- shall remain an integral part of my family and shall not be "shared" in any way, shape or form." -- post-reunion email from my son's adoptive father on October 16, 2001.


Adoption is NOT about unwanted children. It is about UNWANTED MOTHERS.

"It is the child welfare establishment that has provided the picture of "birthmothers" as indifferent -- as mothers who abandon their unwanted children with a wish to remain forever hidden from them. They know that this is seldom true, but it helps to facilitate their work for the public to believe this. Society does not dismiss the importance of the natural family as readily as the social planners, and so it is useful to portray relinquishing parents as different from caring parents. "The "birthmother" must be different, an aberration; for if it were true that she had the same degree of love for her child as all other mothers, the good of adoption would be overwhelmed by the tragedy of it. adopters are presumably somewhat relieved of guilt if they can be assured that the natural parents truly did not want their child; for, under those circumstances, it is possible to feel entitled to claim the child of others. Neither society nor the mother who holds the child in her arms wants to confront the agony of the mother from whose arms that same child was taken." " From a speech by Margaret McDonald Lawrence to the American Adoption Congress in Washington D.C at the first National AAC Conference on May 4, 1979.

(birth-) Mothers Exploited By Adoption
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