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dear birthmother letters

Mothers in Exile
By Jaymie Frederick

Response to the program "20/20" segment
on "Bad Adoption Reunion" 

Jaymie is a natural (first) mother, professional searcher and a licensed private investigator.
Please be advised that for all the bad reunions you hear of, there are many that are good.
am a searcher who has handled over 2,000 cases since 1994 when I searched for and found my son in NY.  My bad reunion rate or rejection rate, is much smaller than the positive reunion rate.   As for natural mothers' confidentiality, for every natural mother that wants to remain anonymous, I can personally produce 5-10 that do not.  Statistics show us that over 95% of natural mothers long to know the children they surrendered. In this country I believe the majority rules in most matters, at least that is what we are taught throughout our lives. 
Why does the media focus on the minority in adoption issues? I also find it in relatively poor taste to have an adopter, ( Connie Chung, is handling this interview as I understand it)  conduct this interview without giving the opposite view from other natural mothers who want contact.  An adoptive mother could present this issue in a rather biased manner in my opinion.  By not presenting an opposing view in this segment, there are many adoptees who might feel that all natural mothers do not want their past exposed or their identities discovered, which in fact, is not true.  Please think about presenting this segment in a true light; if you are going to present one side of an issue you should allow the opposing side to speak to be fair to your journalistic ethics.  You should also assign these types of cases to an interviewer who isn't personally involved in adoption. 
As for natural mother confidentiality, I am a natural mother who surrendered in 1975 and I was not promised confidentiality; in fact, I was warned over and over during this period that I had to honor the adoptive family and my son's confidentiality, and that I could never search for him or break this contract that I had to sign.  If anyone had informed me that I was being offered confidentiality, even at the young age of 17, I would have told them not to bother with the promise.  I wanted my son to know that he was loved and if I was ever needed by him that I would be there for him. 
Contrary to popular belief, natural mothers don't go on in this world after giving up a child, enjoying their lives and forgetting the child ever existed.  Even though people would love to think this is true, it's not the reality of the situation for most of us.  Our lives are colored by the traumatic event and we are never the same afterwards.  Most of us grieve for years and a lot of our future experiences as parents to our other children are colored by the fact that we lost our firstborn child.  Losing a child to adoption in many ways is worse than losing a child to death.  With death we have closure to some degree, with adoption we know that we have a child out there in the world somewhere.  We don't know who or where they are but rest assured, we know they exist, we know we created them, and we know we love them sight unseen. 
In the US, we put great emphasis on our history as a nation and as a people. Genealogy is one of the most popular past times in America today.  Yet we tell a segment of our population, our adoptees, that they are not entitled to their heritage, genetic history, and in most cases, they aren't allowed even updated medical histories.  When people adopt a child, the child legally becomes theirs, but this does not erase who that child is genetically, nor does it erase any emotional or physical needs the child may have in regards to their natural families.  I find it highly hypocritical that we tout our history, yet deny our own citizens theirs. 
No matter how you try you will never be able to argue that our confidentiality promises outweigh the love that most of us feel for our children.  We gave up our children loving them unconditionally. We loved them enough to want them to have the life we felt or in some cases were coerced to feel we could never provide for them.
The small segment of natural mothers who don't want to be found will never outweigh the thousands of us who do want to see the face of our child, if only for one time. The face of the child who we have longed to see and touch. The face that haunts our existence and that has remained in our hearts and minds, always present, only eluding us physically, never mentally. 
I close with this thought.  In my searches I have found several natural mothers who had committed suicide on or near the birthday of their relinquished child. I don't think these women did this out of fear of their identity being discovered one day in the future.  I think they did this out of total despair.  Despair over a system of closed adoption, a system that didn't allow them to have the hope that one day they would get to know the adult that once was their child.  The system's doors closed on these women forever, and not being able to find the key to open this door, they permanently sealed their pain in a terrible act of finality. 

Copyright © Jaymie Friedman Frederick (CFreder469@aol.com)

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