For some who are thinking about adopting a baby, there’s one thing holding them back: birth mothers. Just the very mention of the term “birth mother” can strike fear into the hearts of many adoptive-mothers-to-be. They may envision heartless teenagers addicted to drugs who “give away” their babies to strangers.
It’s time to re-evaluate the way we think about birth mothers. With modern, open adoption, birth mothers can choose their baby’s adoptive parents, decide how things go at the hospital, and keep in touch with their child and their adoptive parents. If you’re considering adoption, we want to explain what’s fact and what’s fiction.
Today, we’re sharing the truth to 10 birth mother myths:
1. They give up their children.
Birth mothers give up red meat, or soda, or coffee. But one thing they don’t give up is their baby. Birth mothers take the time to pick out loving adoptive parents themselves for one simple reason: they want their child to have a better future than the one they can offer.
With a modern, open adoption, birth mothers have the power to choose their baby’s adoptive parents. Birth mothers can also talk with the adoptive parents to get to know them better and ask them questions. By asking them questions directly, the birth mother can get the complete picture of the adoptive couple as potential parents for their baby.
Lifetime Adoption works with hopeful adoptive parents across the US, from a wide variety of ethnicities, religions, and backgrounds. So, birth mothers are able to choose a family who would raise their baby exactly the way that they wish. Birth mothers also have the right to decide how much future contact with their child and family they’d like, whether it’s emails, letters, photos, or even visits.
2. They don’t love their children.
Being pregnant isn’t exactly a walk in the park. So let’s be honest, how many women do you know who will undergo morning sickness, stretch marks, hormonal changes, and all the other discomforts that come with pregnancy only to “give up” their baby at the end of it?
Choosing adoption doesn’t mean you don’t love your baby. It means the opposite: you love them so much that you want them to have the life they deserve, despite the pain it may cause you. When you don’t have the needed resources to care for a baby or aren’t ready to become a parent, choosing adoption for your baby is the most selfless and loving thing you can do.
3. They come back to reclaim their children.
Some adoptive parents adopt a child internationally because they don’t want to deal with a birth mother. But the myth of the birth mother showing up at your door asking for her baby back is just that: a myth.
In reality, after the adoption is final, birth parents aren’t able to reclaim their child. Up to the point that they sign papers relinquishing their parental rights, which can be 24 hours or longer depending on their state laws, they can change their minds.
Most birth mothers spend countless hours creating an adoption plan in order to give their children the very best. The last thing they want to do is come back and disrupt what they’ve created.
4. They’re selfish.
This is one of the biggest birth mother myths out there! Actually, adoption is about the least selfish choice that you can make for your child. Placing a baby for adoption isn’t easy; it’s a life-changing decision that often causes grief. Yet, birth mothers make an adoption plan because they want to give their children a better life, filled with opportunities. And often, because they want to make the adoptive parents happy, too.
5. They’re druggies.
Sure, some birth mothers struggle with substance abuse, but that’s not what makes them a birth mother. Plenty of non-birth mothers struggle with drug use, too.
Society tends to lump all birth mothers together, although doing so is dangerous. One size doesn’t fit all. Just like everyone else, birth mothers come in all shapes, colors, and sizes.
Whatever the situation, there are adoptive families ready to provide a baby with a loving home. Lifetime is here to support birth mothers as they make an adoption plan, even if their baby has been exposed to drugs or alcohol. It’s important to be honest with Lifetime about any tobacco, drug, or alcohol use during pregnancy because the birth mother and child deserve the best possible care.
If you’re using drugs near your due date, your baby may test positive for drugs at birth. In these cases, the hospital must notify Child Protective Services, and they may place your baby in the foster care system.
But by having an adoption plan in place, you’re able to choose where your baby will go and the level of contact you want to have with your child as they grow up. So, if you think your baby may test positive for drugs at birth, call or text us at 1-800-923-6784 for help and info.
6. They’re troubled teens.
The fact is, most birth mothers are in their 20s and 30s and already raising a child. They know what parenting requires and realize they’re not in a position to raise another child. That’s why they’ve chosen adoption. Rather than focus on birth mothers’ age and situation, we encourage you to share that birth mothers are women who make a decision so their baby can have opportunities they are unable to provide.
7. They can’t wait to get rid of their children.
Even though a birth mother is confident she’s making the right decision, saying goodbye to her baby is one of the hardest things she can do.
As part of their adoption hospital plan, many birth mothers spend time with their babies after giving birth, holding them, hugging them, bathing them, and singing to them. Most want to soak up every minute they have together because they don’t know if they’ll ever be another moment like it.
8. They move on with their lives as if nothing had happened.
If only this were the case! Placing your baby for adoption is a life-changing experience. Most birth mothers go through intense grieving after the adoption placement. Even though having an ongoing relationship with their child can help her heal, it doesn’t remove the sting of placement altogether.
9. They forget about their children.
Even though a birth mother may not be parenting her child, she will never forget them. Their children are always present emotionally despite being physically separated from them.
Most birth mothers will tell you that not a day goes by without thinking about their child. Our society may not see birth mothers as mothers, but I can tell you that they worry about and miss their child just like any mother.
10. They regret their decision.
Birth mothers have rights in the adoption process. They have the right to choose the adoptive couple for their baby and stay in contact with their child as they grow up. Lifetime has heard from many women that having a say in their adoption plan makes them feel more confident about their decision to place.
By the time placement happens, a birth mother will have thought long and hard about her decision and come to terms with it. Of course, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt. But birth mothers can always take comfort in knowing that they did the best for their child, which is something no one should ever regret.
Mardie Caldwell, C.O.A.P., is a nationally-recognized adoption expert and the Founder of Lifetime Adoption Agency. She has been working in adoption since 1986 and is also an award-winning author and speaker.
Mardie knows the sorrow of coping with infertility, and is an adoptive parent who experienced many of the challenges adoptive families might face. In various media appearances worldwide, publications, and her podcast, Mardie important steps that must be taken to complete a safe and secure adoption. Having adopted her son, Mardie knows firsthand the joys of raising an adopted child.
Mardie’s life mission is to help adoptive parents and birth parents find each other. With Lifetime Adoption Agency, she seeks to build happy families and provide precious infants and children with a loving and secure future.