Category Archives: social prejudice

What to Say to a Birthmother on Mother’s Day and a Thought or Two on Birthmother’s Day

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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.

In The Shadow of the Twin Spires

I worried about going to hell pretty frequently during my 8 years of Catholic grade school. Girls were warned constantly against impure thoughts, words and deeds. It was hard to measure up against the martyred virginal saints who valued their purity more than their lives.
When I got pregnant  my senior year of high school, I felt marked forever as a sinner.
Nowadays, in my home town, things are different. Young unmarried women don’t have to keep their pregnancies secret and give away their babies. And guess what? The church is still standing. It hasn’t been struck by a bolt of lightening or slid into the river.What I’d once thought of as a narrow-minded main street seems broader now and prettier. Almost fairy-tale lovely–a place where families can live happily ever after.

It’s an over-simplified view. I know that. But still, it’s a different world than the one I grew up in.

Sealed

I’ve been thinking about social progress vs. political progress.  I saw the movie Milk the other night. A lot has changed for gays since the 70s.  Nowadays, many gays & lesbians carry on with their lives without keeping secrets about their sexual orientation.  There’s a fair amount of social acceptance for them, but legislated equal rights is another story.  

There are no overt social prejudices against adoptees (though I think birthmothers continue to be marked with a stigma)–yet most states have yet to pass legislation that will grant adoptees access to their birth records.  The fact that those records remain sealed and off limits to adult adoptees is a political wrong.