January 23rd, 2007
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Women placing their babies for adoption sometimes have tunnel vision, and their advisors may as well. Separating a baby from its mother affects more than just those two people, and the affects are more long-lasting. Few birth/first mothers I know thought much about the wide affects within a family that an adoption would cause. I know that I certainly did not.

Babies and children placed for adoption lose not only their first parents, but grandparents, cousins and siblings, etc. Many birth grandparents may not feel the loss of their grandchildren until years down the road, and they may wish then that the adoption had not happened. If the birth grandparents are involved in pressuring for the adoption, they may later feel a great deal of guilt for their actions.


Families are often involved in coercing a woman to relinquish her child to adoption. This can and often does place a serious strain on family relations. Many first/birth moms relinquished as teens during the baby scoop era partly or wholly due to family pressure. Worries about disgracing the family name and wondering what people would think played a large role in many adoption decisions during that time frame.

Several first/birth moms from the baby scoop era have confronted their parents over this issue in the preceding years. For many, frank heartfelt discussions about the pressure exerted and the damage that it did have resulted in some forgiveness and healing. Receiving apologies from parents who forced adoption on their children has been very helpful to some birth parents.

Other parents of birth parents accept no responsibility in the adoption decision and stubbornly refuse to apologize for their sometimes misguided advice. Some birth mothers may have cut off contact entirely with especially cruel and unbending parents who exerted enormous pressure on them to relinquish their babies.

An interesting fact to note is that many parents of birth mothers did not realize how much they would feel the loss of their grandchild. Not only did they not understand the painful affect that losing a child would have on their child, but that it would affect them adversely as well. Many birth grandparents mourn the loss of their grandchildren deeply and are regret their part in the adoption.

5 Responses to “Adoption and Reunion Effects on Birth Families – Part 1”

  1. thomasina says:

    My mother acknowledges that my coerced adoption 36 years ago has irrevocably damaged me. In her words, “I know you have been tortured by it for your entire life.” However, in her next breath, she says, “I would do the same thing again.” This is followed by a series of I statements in which she talks about the impact a baby would have had on her life, which was, at the time, difficult. I have had to live with this for all these years while pretending that everything was okay between her and me. I admire her for her many accomplishments and I do love her; she’s the only mom I’ll ever have….but my self esteem was forever damaged by my mother’s having defined my psyche as an acceptable sacrifice.

  2. thomasina says:

    PS Both of my parents were reunited with the son they forced me to relinquish. My mom alternates between finding him amusing and semi claiming him and not wanting to acknowledge him. My dad doesn’t quite know what to do; I generally get the impression that his guilt won’t let him acknowledge him.
    It hurts my son tremendously.

  3. Jan Baker says:

    I can’t imagine how difficult hearing those two conflicting comments would be – sounds as though it would be very hurtful.

    Think having a frank heart to heart with her could help?

  4. thomasina says:

    Thanks for your kind remarks.
    I’ve tried the heart to heart a number of times and it just makes her angry. She always says that she’s been through enough in her life and refuses to bear guilt on top of it. I could even accept something like: “I’m sorry we had to make the decision we did; I can see how destructive it was to your life, how much it has hurt you. I wish we could have seen some other way because we love you and regret what this has done to you.” I wish she could accept some responsibility for the circumstances around me getting pregnant….but that is a separate itssue. However. she will say nothing except for she would do exactly the same thing again. When I tell her that my birthson has a great deal of anger towards me because I relinquished him and that he has abandonment issues that affect his life, she proudly talks about how I tried every way I could think of to keep him and all the roadblocks they threw up. There is just no regret. My beautiful, brilliant and often compassionate mother just sees me as a “girl who got in trouble” and them as parents who tried to act in a way that constituted the situation having the least effect on our family. HA

  5. 2heartbrokemom says:

    I adopted a daughter at birth, now 22 years later, she wants to know her bioilogical mother who gave her away,also had a child before her and gave him away, this has been very hard as we have often been honest about the mother, Am I wrong to feel the hurt i feel,and the thought of losing her to this so called new family she longs to know.

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