There are millions of us. For every adoptee, there is a birthmother. We’re your sisters, your friends, your aunts, your cousins, your teammates, your co-workers, your wives and girlfriends, that person next to you on the plane who’s flying home to see her mom and tells you everything after her 4th rum and coke.
Each of our stories is unique and they’re all the same. What you say to the particular birthmother(s) that you know probably depends on the story. Think about what you know. Step into her shoes. Is she still keeping her secret from others with you being one of the few in her confidence? Is she happily reunited with her son or daughter? Has her child refused to meet her? Is she searching? Does she have other children? Maybe you invite her over for coffee or take her out for a drink. Maybe you tell her you feel enriched by knowing her story, or you give her a card or a take time for a conversation. Maybe you ask her what she thinks of Birthmother’s Day, which is today, by the way, in case you didn’t know.
I don’t exactly hate the idea of Birthmother’s Day, myself. But I don’t really love it either. The phrase Happy Birthmother’s Day pretty much gets stuck in my throat. I’d rather cough up a carving knife than say that, but the idea of commemoration is a good one. We’re here. So, I’m thinking of us and all of our stories.
“Forced adoptions have been a major issue in Australia. In 2013 their Prime Minister Julia Gillard offered a national apology to those affected by forced adoptions. The Australian Senate Enquiry Report found that babies of unmarried mothers were illegally taken by medical staff, social workers and religious persons, sometimes with the assistance of adoption agencies and other authorities, and adopted out to married couples.
Many of these adoptions occurred after the mothers were sent away by their families due to the social stigma associated with being pregnant and unmarried.
It was found that some women were drugged, others restrained, some forced to sign, signatures faked, no informed consent and few (if any) chose to give their children away.
This went on up to the 1970s. It is recognised that this has resulted in major issues for generations of families and for Australian society. Many mothers have died early due to stress related illnesses or committed suicide. Many who have survived do so suffering complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.”
I’ve often wondered about general life outcomes for birthmothers from the era of secrecy in the U.S. I’ve picked up small pieces of information here and there as I researched my memoir, but found nothing extensive. Sometimes it seems that we’re still the girls who are supposed to disappear.
I’ve been lurking around over at Birth Mother, First Mother Forum. Their blog has 117 followers (I’m one of them) and I have been clicking on each little picture wondering who all of these women are and what their stories are. If there is a link on the profile, I click on it and read a bit of their blog, and then I look at their followers and I click on those little pictures and see if they have blogs and who their followers are and then……
Are you following me–I mean this journey through a cyberspace rabbit hole where there are birthmothers around every turn?
One thing I’ve noticed is this: Many of the followers and the followers of the followers, etc. do not have blogs of their own, so I don’t know for sure if they are are birthmothers or not, but I bet they are. Or adoptees. There are quite a few adoptees who follow Birth Mother First, First Mother Forum, too.
There are so many of us. So many birthmothers. So many adoptees.
And now I’m hooked. Every day, I’m going to click on a couple more pictures.