Yesterday the sadness crept up on me and I had a heaviness in my chest. It’s a familiar sorrow, one that I prefer to keep buried beneath the surface, but some days that just isn’t possible. I read an article, Adopted or Abducted, about the coercion of mothers during the 1940’s through 1980’s, to place their children for adoption. It brought back memories, ones I try not to recall very often; it also brought back my friends’ stories.
One, in particular, keeps interrupting my thoughts. Years ago I met a friend, Beth, through an adoption triad group (adoptees, adoptive parents, and birthparents). We quickly became close as we shared our stories and sorrows; we understood each other. Beth became pregnant as a young teen and was sent to a maternity home operated by a large adoption agency. Having had a difficult childhood, Beth thrived in the routine and safety of the home. She was fed, educated, clothed, and cared for by the staff, and for the first time in her life, she felt loved and secure.
Beth understood the maternity home’s expectation that her child would be placed for adoption, but as the weeks passed, she grew more and more attached to her baby and felt that she could not give him up. She worried about displeasing the staff, but trusting the relationship she had built with them, she told them her plan to keep her baby. She was informed that it was her choice, but there was a financial cost for the months she had spent at the maternity home, and with no adoptive parents to pay the bill, she would be responsible for it.
As you can imagine, it was a large sum of money for a teen, even one from a financially secure family, and it was completely out of reach for Beth. She pleaded for help, but was told that she had two options, give up her child, or pay the bill. In the end,with great regret and sorrow, she gave birth to her son, placed him in the care of the adoption agency, and left with empty arms and a shattered heart.
So today, when I should be writing something about adoptive parenting, it is birthmother sorrow that is coming out of my fingertips. I think of Beth and wonder if I should seek her out. Unfortunately, she is one of the friends I lost when I became an adoptive mother; it was just too painful to walk that road with me. I understand, I really do, it is very complex to be an adoptive mother without also being aware of my life as a birthmother.
I would probably feel better today if I got busy and cleaned my kitchen, or added to my “giving thanks” list. Gratitude is a good antidote to sorrow.
#861 870 giving thanks
my sister arriving from Seattle today
little boys collecting worms
a good washing machine that tackles muddy clothes
my son, who I am so grateful to know
quiet moments with Russ this morning
Beth, who was a good friend for many years
the Holy Spirit who comforts us in our sorrow
children to teach
a messy kitchen to clean
Thanks for bearing with me, friends; I’ll be back to adoptive mommy blogging soon.
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