Of all the birthmother myths—and there are many!—none stings more than the accusation that birthmothers “give up” their babies.
And yet despite the advent of open adoption 30 years ago and the more active role that birthmothers play in the placement process today, the stereotype that they are heartless, teenage drug addicts who “give up” or “give away” their babies still persists.
“I could never give up my baby,” some people will say, when hearing about a placement story.
They might not, but many birthmothers don’t either.
Birthmothers are individuals, just like the rest of us. They are daughters, sisters, aunts, friends, co-workers, and neighbors. They have their good points and bad ones, their ups and downs.
To paint them all with the same brush not only also robs them of their individuality and uniqueness, it doesn’t do justice to their decision to place.
As you’ll see from these 10 birthmother stories spanning nearly 50 years from our archives, each one is different.
And yet generally speaking, they had nothing to do with “giving up” or “giving away” a child and everything to do with the birthmother’s decision—made after careful thought and consideration—that adoption was in her child’s best interests.
Or, as one birthmother put it, “I didn’t give them up. I gave them more.” Read their stories and see for yourself.
1. “I didn’t give them up. I placed them.” Ashlee Amraen
Read Ashlee’s birthmother story, “To The People Who Say “I Could Never Give My Kid Up For Adoption.”
2. “Some would say I didn’t care or love my baby because I was planning to ‘give her away.’ Little did they know I was going to be a part of her life.” Cannille Turner
Read Cannille’s birthmother story, ‘Finding A Family To Adopt My Baby Girl Was Never About ‘Giving Her Away.’
3. “I didn’t give them up. I gave them more.” Stephanie Burton
Read Stephanie’s birthmother story, “I Didn’t Give Up My Babies. I Gave Them More.”
4. “You needed me. But I needed you too.” Amanda
Read Amanda’s birthmother story, “To The Woman Who Adopted My Baby.”
5. “I remember thinking, am I ready to be a mother? Am I ready to raise this sweet little spirit?” Crystal Byrd
Read Crystal’s birthmother story, “The Moment I Knew I Had To Place My Baby For Adoption.”
6. “I would argue that it is very courageous to choose adoption instead of the quicker, quieter way out of the mess you’ve gotten into.” Megan
Read Megan’s birthmother story, “How Placing My Baby For Adoption Made Me A Birthmother Advocate.”
7. “The day I said goodbye to him, I had only one request. I told him “Find me.” And eventually he did.” Fran Hampton
Read Fran’s birthmother story, ‘A Birthmother’s Love Lasts Forever.’
8. “Just because a woman places her child for adoption doesn’t mean she doesn’t love or want him or that she doesn’t want to have a relationship with him.” Makena
Read Makena’s birthmother story, ‘Why I Chose Open Adoption For My Baby’
9 “I want her to have the best.” Kaleena Pysher
Read Kaleena’s birthmother story, ‘Adoption Love: You Won’t Believe What This Birthmother Did After She Placed Her Baby’
10. “It was so hard on me. But it was also one of the most rewarding things I have ever done.” Samantha
Read Samantha’s birthmother story, ‘What Placing My Baby For Adoption Taught Me About Life And Love.’