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dear birthmother letters


By Robin Westbrook

Name:  Robin
Title (to others): "Birth-"mother
Role:  Unclear
Status:  Secondary
Status of Feelings:  Secondary
Favorite Color:  Shades of Gray

The murky waters of adoption have claimed more victims than any other disaster I can think of. The problem is, that the victims are killed over and over again. Every time I hear my daughter call me "Robin," every month that passes without hearing from my son, every time I realize that I had my motherhood amputated a long time ago where Sara and Jay are concerned, I die again, inside.

We are one of the last minorities for whom discrimination seems to be OK. We wear hoods and veils while the adopters wear halos. We are the women who, when reunited with our adult children, are often treated like "back-street" mistresses, visited secretly and never spoken of to the adopters.

Holidays, weddings, engagements, graduations, even wakes are for them, not for us. I was not even allowed at my daughter's wedding. My raised daughter was told she could come if she stayed to the back of the church and didn't bring notice to herself. I'm pleased to say that she declined the invitation.

By the very act that so many say is "noble" and "selfless", that of surrender of our children for adoption, we are relegated to the second or third-class section of our children's lives. We are thanked, but not honored. We are necessary, but many would prefer that we remain invisible. We are actively recruited, then have them pray that we will disappear. We are the "untouchables" of western society.

Those of us who do not chose to remain in the niche of second-class anonymity are thought of as "troublemakers," even by some of our sisters who surrendered. Those of us who rail against the lies and coercion by which our children were removed from us are accused of not taking responsibility for our own actions. Those of us who never stopped loving and grieving for our children are accused of "living in the past " and "not moving on with life."  No matter how much pain we endure, it's all OUR fault.

So we walk on eggshells so as not to lose again the children we lost in our youth. We subjugate our needs and feelings to those of the adopters and act grateful for the crumbs we receive. Now I know how it must have felt to the African-Americans to be forced to sit in the back of the bus. I don't know about you, but I get nauseated riding in the back.

I am my childrens' Mother. That fact is carved into my heart in letters of blood.  No legal doublespeak, no papers bearing any signatures or any judicial decree can change that primal and natural fact.  And True Mothers don't forget and they don't accept second-class treatment and they don't ride at the back of the bus.

So, I'm fighting my way forward, not just for me, but for all my sisters who have felt less that who they truly are due to this tragedy of adoption. I am out of the closet and exposing myself, my past "sins" and successes to the light of scrutiny. I am here, at the front of the bus, and I want a seat!

Copyright © 12/31/2000 Robin Westbrook
Reunited Mother to Sara & Jay, Mom to Kerry & Sam, Loving Mother to all 4

A Response to Robin's Essay:


" That was incredible and so beautifully written. For the past week, I have been going through, what I can only describe as, post traumatic stress disorder...  flashbacks that are so real I could photograph them, grief that keeps coming in waves, and the distinct and debilitating feeling that I am no longer in my body.  All centered around motherhood, mine and that of my own mother, who was forced to give me up 'for my own good' and who, too, died inside. And, I can see my baby in my arms. And, I can feel the hole in my heart where they killed me...  when they took my baby Christina (now, Jill) out of my arms 'for her own good so that she could be raised by loving parents (like I wasn't even capable of love)'... they killed me. 

" When you wrote "every time I realize that I had my motherhood amputated a long time ago where Sara and Jay are concerned, I die again, inside." You are speaking for me.  I, too, had my motherhood amputated and it robbed me and ALL of my children of their mother. And when my daughter Jill's adoptive mother wrote to me her gratitude for giving her 'my sweet Jill'.  I died again, inside. I didn't give her my baby. My baby was taken from me.  My loss was her gain. I wasn't even given the dignity of a goodbye or a progress report. The door was shut on me forever. Like I wasn't worth anything. Anything at all. Not even allowed to grieve. But, I AM grieving... and when I'm through... I'm moving up "to the front of the bus with you!"

Thank you Robin.
With love,



Note regarding "respectful" adoption language:

The terms "unwed" mother, "birthmother", "birthmom", "birthmoms", "dear birthparent", "birthparent", "birthparents", "birthfather" "biological" make a parent appear to be less than the mother or father they are. These terms dehumanize and limit the parent's role to that of an incubator. Using the honest terms "mother", "single mother" or "natural mother" help the public to understand why real family members must not be separated to obtain babies for adoption.

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