“do people get over giving their babies up for adoption”

Dear Person who Found This Blog Using the Search Phrase “do people get over giving their babies up for adoption”:

I hope these letters answer your question.

In short, no.*

People don’t “get over” giving their babies to strangers. Yes, many of us learn to live – and make no mistake about it – LIVE WELL – with the ongoing ambiguous loss, but we don’t “get over” it any more than a mother would “get over” losing their child to death. We go on to have peaceful, productive, and in some cases, exceptional lives, but we don’t “get over” our lost child.

In fact, not only does a person not “get over” it, but the adoption industry is now beginning to tacitly acknowledge that unlike a mother who lost a child to death in infancy, the surrendering/relinquishing/”placing” mother will mostly likely need lifelong counseling  services. Stop and think about that for a moment: Life. Long. Counseling. To me, that indicates giving a baby up for adoption has a negative Life. Long. Effect. on a person. Some adoption agencies, such as LDSFS, offer it for FREE to those who give their babies to qualified couples. Three cheers for tithing & fast offering dollars hard at work in the LDS/Mormon church, eh? Essentially, the agencies offering free lifetime counseling are saying, “Give these more qualified (read: rich, educated, frequently white) people your baby and in return, you get heartache and grief for which you will need counseling for the rest of your life.”  Sounds like a pretty fair trade, doesn’t it?

I highly suggest you visit Cassi’s excellent blog, Adoption Truth (http://www.adoption-truth.com/). On the right hand side, she has a blogroll that will lead you to many other sources to verify what I have said here. And might I make one more suggestion? A parallel, and equally important, question you may consider asking is, “do people ever get over being given up for adoption as a baby?” The answer you find to that particular question will most likely be as complex as the answer to your original question.

Warmest regards –


* Of course, I have to add an addendum.  There are SOME people who do “get over” giving a baby away to strangers, but I posit they are in the very smallest of minorities. I acknowledge there are some serial breeders out there who seem hell-bent on producing and then abandoning as many babies as possible. I get it. They are out there.

There are also some very vocal birth mothers who actively recruit women into this sisterhood and will tell you how totally *AWESOME* it is to give your baby to strangers and how they felt like they were doing God’s work and it was all about love, and they made the unselfish decision, and they didn’t give their baby “up” but gave them “more”…but most of them are recent “placements,” many of them in “open” adoptions.  As such, they are still less than eight or so years post adoption-loss, which is when research has shown most women start awakening from the adoption fog/anesthesia. Since their loss is still so fresh, the full effect of what it means in their lives may not have taken hold yet. Additionally, they are frequently in a relationship with the adoptive parents which necessitates they not speak out about any pain they might have as it would jeopardize their ability to see their relinquished child. Honestly, I worry about those mothers the most – the younger ones who are stridently and joyously vocal about their adoption “experience.” Eventually, in the quiet moments of their lives, the facade will begin to crack and their grief will begin to seep out. I’ve seen it happen time and time again, as recently as a few weeks ago. Not only will they have to come face to face with the same ambiguous loss and grief the “rest” of us mothers have had to learn to live with, but they will also have to answer for their responsibility in convincing fellow mothers to voluntarily give her baby away to someone else. As hard as it has been for me to come out of the adoption anesthesia over the past few years, at least I don’t have that weighing on my soul as well.

29 thoughts on ““do people get over giving their babies up for adoption”

  1. What a stupid question, really. To whomever found this blog by typing that into the search engine, if you are a parent, imagine asking yourself the same thing. Do you think you could ever get over the loss of YOUR child? I think not.

    • Sam – I am not so sure if it a stupid question as much as it is an uninformed question. The adoption industry and media have done a phenomenal job at portraying birth mothers as women who can simply walk away and “get over” their children. They have a ve$sted intere$t in this stereotype, too. The myth of the birth mother “getting over” their relinquished child also plays nicely into many adoptive parents’ internal schema. After all, the only reason they adopted that womb-fresh infant was because the birth mother didn’t “want” their child and would “get over” it in a year or two, so no harm done, right? It’s a win-win-win for everyone….right???

      All that to say I am not bothered by someone googling that search term. What I am bothered by is when dissenting voices are marginalized, belittled, and ignored because they don’t fit within the dominant cultural rhetoric of how a “good” birth mother behaves, what she “should” feel, and what words she “should” use to describe her loss. (Much like happened last week with the Adoptive Families Circle comments by BaileysMom, who **flat out** rejected anything said that didn’t make her feel all warm and fuzzy about adoption.)

      • the thing is i have never met one woman that said she was indeed glad to lose her child. thanks mel you said this well

      • I do know women who had no regrets, two of my half-sisters for a start.The question is not stupid and just doesn’t acknowledge the complexities.

      • Yes, I think you hit it on the head, Von. I don’t think the original question acknowledges the complexities of what it means to relinquish a child for adoption.

        I *know* there are women out there who claim to have no regrets, but I must say they are cut from different cloth than I. It makes me wonder, was there **never** a twinge of sadness on their relinquished child’s birthday? Never a moment throughout their life history they said to themselves (if not to others), “I wish things could have been different for us”? Obviously, that is only something those women can answer, perhaps only on their deathbeds.

  2. Well, I’ll leave my answer: NO NO NO NO NO! My son will be 24 in 2 weeks and I have yet to get over it. In truth, it’s gotten worse the older he gets.

    • I have found that same thing, Sara. It seems to be getting worse as the years go by. Sometimes I desperately wish I could be like the women Von spoke of in her comments, women who have no regrets over losing a child. It would be a much easier way to live life, that is for certain.

      But I am not, and so I have to muddle through the life I do have somehow.

  3. Honestly, the fact that someone is searching for answers to this question is somewhat heartening to me. So often, no one even considers what happens to the mother after the adoption is over. The new parents are happy, everyone assumes that the child is better off and well, who cares what happens to the mother who abandoned her baby?

    I’m working on learning the alchemy you described in an earlier post. But even still, I don’t think I will ever get over it.

    • Me either. Adoption will always be working is special kind of magic on me. I will always be seeking that alchemy I spoke of before. Perhaps when I am dead and have gone on to my eternal reward I will finally be “over” it.

  4. I bet the “serial breeders” feel bad too, on some level, but they’ve learned to numb it. There are all kinds of coping strategies and that’s one of them–even if the rest of us don’t understand it, it’s very real to those who go through it.

    • I have spent some time thinking about the term “serial breeders” in light of your comment and I have come to the conclusion that it is too harsh, even if it is truthful. Research has shown that is how some women cope with the initial loss of a child to adoption – they keep repeating it, perhaps as a way to finally “master” the situation, or perhaps out of a need to “prove” their status as a woman who is unfit to parent their first child. I don’t know, but I DO KNOW I need to find a more compassionate way of speaking about women in that situation.

  5. Precisely. I have learned how to cope. But never will I get over it. Never. The wound will never heal because part of me is now missing. There is nothing that can cover a hole in my heart that was intended for my child.

  6. My heart breaks for the person who searched for that answer. I remember wondering why I couldn’t just “go on”. I remember thinking that there was something wrong with me because I hadn’t been able to. I strongly remember the relief in finding other moms out here on the www who let me know that I wasn’t alone in not being able to “get over giving their babies up for adoption”. I hope that if it was a mom or dad of adoption loss, that they are able to find the support and relief that I found here on the web.

    • I remember feeling the exact same way! Why couldn’t I just “go on”? Why was I struggling so much, even after nearly two decades? What was wrong with me? It was such a relief to find out *NOTHING* was wrong with me, in fact, my feelings were a NORMAL reaction to the loss of a child to adoption, even those first 4-5 years of numbness after signing the TPR paperwork.

    • This is so true. I have found as the years have gone on, as birthdays and holidays and additional children have come through my life, this adoption stuff just gets harder. It’s like it is compounded or something.

  7. No. We don’t. I’m only 3 years out from relinquishing and I do not regret it. This is going to sound contradictory, but I do not regret it. I did not have the resources or support to raise my child and the parents I chose have it in spades, and abundance. I’ll never regret putting my child first. That said, if I ever found myself in an unplanned pregnancy again I would not relinquish. Not for a billion dollars or all the good karma in the world. I would become a mother and figure out the best way to raise the child under whatever circumstances. My circumstances are not any better than when I relinquished (note I was not underage nor were drugs or alcohol or abuse involved), yet if the answer would I ever relinquish again is a resounding “NO” then you have your answer- no. We don’t get over it.

    • Yes, your comment is contradictory to those who are not familiar to the Janusian nature of adoption loss (i.e., natural family’s loss = adoptive parent’s gain; adoptees have two families, natural and adoptive; we can feel at times that we don’t regret the choice for ourselves, but at the same time work tirelessly to prevent it from happening to another mother & baby; we may wish we could take back all the missing years, but don’t want to erase that part of our relinquished child’s life and history…I could go on and on). However, to those of us who live it on a daily basis, it makes perfect sense.

      I remember when I first got divorced. My ex and his new wife were pressing me to relinquish custody of my son to him. This was about 4 years after losing my daughter. Their reasoning was, “You’ve done it before, it should be easy to do a second time. And if you loved him as much as you loved her, you would choose to put him first and give him to us since we are married and you aren’t. He’s entitled to be raised by two parents, not one. If you don’t terminate your parental rights, then you are just proving how selfish you really are.” I pretty much said the same thing you said about raising a second child as a single parent – I already knew what it was like to lose one and there was NO WAY I was doing it again, I would do everything it took to keep him with me and to prove the naysayers wrong. That was also the point where I really began to wake up from the blessed adoption anesthesia that had kept me somewhat numb. If I could muster up that kind of courage for my son, why didn’t I for my daughter? I was essentially the same person – nothing had really changed, other than 4 years had passed on the calendar. I was still just as single and just as NOT done with college and just as broke as before. As the years went by and I earned my BS and MS as a single mom, I truly began to understand what a tragedy it was that I had lost my oldest daughter. I did it for my son. I should have done it for her as well.

  8. I’ll reply here because those young in the adoption think that their child went to a “better” home. THEY DID NOT! the baby broker lined their pockets is ALL!!!!!! In some cases they just learned they better always pretend or they will be abandoned again, in some cases (way too many) they were taken to a group home or jail because this “unwanted” baby just didn’t work out, much like the city dogs dumped on the farm (where they didn’t work out either) or they love their new family and hate the family they never met, like telling you oh this is your uncle who has been working as a missionary whom you never met, “OH, I hate him!” like any well adjusted person would do. ADOPTION IS SOUL MURDER it doesn’t get better.

  9. i think people assume that since you already must have something wrong with you to give your baby away, so we’re able to “get over it” too. the other implication is that it’s somehow better than “losing” a child because you made a “choice.”

  10. Hi how do I get help as I lost my daughter to adoption last year and I haven’t handly it well she is 2 years old in 2 weeks and its so hard and I was soppose to be getting help but haven’t received none of it

    • Ashleigh – I am so sorry to hear of your loss and that you have not been provided proper post-adoption support. My heart goes out to you and I want to reassure you that you are not alone in this experience, even though you probably feel like the only one out there who has hurt like this before.

      You can send me an email at sostinkinhappy at hotmail dot com and we can chat privately. Also, if you are on FB there are many first mother support groups there. When you send me an email, tell me more about your adoption experience and what agency you used (if you used one). I’ll see what I can do to help.


  11. I became pregnant in 1980. The child was placed for adoption through The Catholic Children’s Home Society. I was made promises that I would receive a letter once a year with photos( needless to say this never happened) I was naive to believe it would. My daughter was adopted by a physician and hi wife and had a financially wonderful life. I had 24 years of not knowing. My daughter was born on Thanksgiving day. When She was 24 I received a letter from CCHS adviing me she was searching for me. It was one of the greatest days of my life. I was given several choices on our correspondence. I choose the meet face to face and so did she. That was 10 years ago and I just do not know where to go from here. I need help. She has me so depressed and lonely feeling. I would love to talk to her but she will not answer her phone or respond to tact messages. Please anyone in my area Ft. Walton Beach, FL. Please help me. Thank you so very much.

    • Dear Shawn – As I am not a birth father, I cannot speak to your experience, only mine. That being said, birth fathers ARE treated as if they don’t exist at all and your voice is desperately needed in the adoption reform conversation. There are so few who are willing to talk about this part of their lives – I hope you are doing so. We need you in this fight if we are to ever make this world a better place for our children.

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