‘Fine With My Decision’ Says this Birth Mother
Below is a recent letter to Dear Abby from a birth mother who relinquished her daughter and never looked back, as well as Abby’s response and responses from other readers who had similar experiences. All articles were reprinted with permission.
Dear Abby: When I was 25, I placed a baby girl up for adoption. I made a decision I thought was best for her and for me. I am 50 now and still believe I made the right decision. Last year she searched for and found me. I answered all her questions and eventually met with her and her parents. By all accounts she has a wonderful family and had a great childhood. We have stayed in touch through email. She wanted to meet my family, but I put her off for months. Eventually I gave in, and she met some of my siblings and their families. She and her “cousins” get along well and stay in touch through Facebook or other social sites.
Abby, I feel nothing toward this girl. There is no maternal attachment. I did my job as a good mother and made sure she had the home I could not give her. If I never see her again, it wouldn’t bother me. I’ve looked online for other women who feel as I do, but all I find are women in constant pain and sorrow over a child they gave up. I can’t be the only woman who feels this way. I’m not looking to change my feelings. I just need to know I’m not a cold-hearted freak.
– Fine with My Decision
Dear Fine: You are not a cold-hearted freak. You’re a woman who never bonded with her baby. Please stop beating yourself up for not feeling something for a virtual stranger. When I hear from other women who read this letter and who feel as you do — please notice I didn’t say “if” I hear from them — I will share their thoughts with you. You have not been able to find a group online because they are not looking for support from others.
Dear Abby: I was glad to see the letter you printed from “Fine with My Decision” (April 22). I placed a baby boy for adoption when I was 16. My parents were bitterly disappointed and sent me out of state. But despite my somewhat immature and rebellious nature, I was – and remain – glad my parents made me do the right thing.
In the years since, there has been a trend toward “open adoptions” and emotional reunions between birth mothers and adoptees who were separated under the “closed system.” I think open adoption is probably healthier for everyone except in cases of rape, incest or abuse/neglect. If the child I gave birth to was to come looking for me, I feel that’s his right and I
wouldn’t turn him away. But I have never felt a desire to look for him. His birth was not a happy event in my life, and I don’t care to revisit that chapter. I don’t regard him as my son. The people who raised him are his parents, not the green kid who got herself in trouble.
I’m somewhat younger than the girls who gave up babies from the ‘40s to ‘60s, so I didn’t get the “keep it a deep dark secret” advice. I also don’t feel I was unfairly coerced. I was 16 and couldn’t support a child. When I think of how my life would have been if I’d kept him, I’m sure I did the right thing. Thanks for writing, “Fine with My Decision.” You’ve got company in me.
–Fine with My Decision, Too
Dear Fine Too: Your letter expresses the sentiments of many women who responded, as I knew they would. Here is one more:
Dear Abby: I gave up my daughter when I was 20. I have thought about her many times, but have no other feelings than hoping she’s OK. I gave her up because I knew I wasn’t ready for motherhood. I never married and have no other children. I have enjoyed my life. I wish my daughter, wherever she is, the best, and I hope her life has been great. I’d love to meet her someday, to be sure she’s all right, but if it never happens, that’s OK, too. Some people are born without that “mother” instinct, and it’s best they not have children they don’t want. Too many people become parents because they think it’s the thing to do, and the children suffer.
–Single and Happy