Can I tell you something? I love reading about adoption (issues and all) in other countries and cultures. As Americans, myself included, we are often so ethnocentric that we think we’re the only ones dealing with certain things. That’s hardly ever the case. In this set of articles hailing from Ireland, I was really intrigued to read about the varied experiences of different members of the triad.
It started out with a piece by a journalist describing how her friend, a birth mother, told her about the child she relinquished. The piece is so very well-written and handled with such grace that I want to fly across the ocean and hand this journalist an award for a job well done. Yes, the phrase “gave up” is used ad nauseum but, I must point out, many mothers who placed over 30 years ago as the birth mother in the article did choose this phrase over “placed for adoption” as it better defines their experiences. And, as such, I shrugged the phrase off and let the words wash over me.
The article talks about the birth mother’s adult children who do not yet know of their mother’s “secret” child. It also discusses the fear that the birth mother feels to even discuss the topic with her husband, a man who does know the existence of this child. And then it launches into an interesting spin on how far we’ve come (I’d hope Ireland has progressed more than we have) since the time that this birth mother placed.
And then the article ends with a challenge, if you will, for mothers who relinquished their children to share their stories.
And they did.
In her follow up piece, the journalist talks about the wide array of emails she received. The good stories. The far worse ones. The ones in between. The adoptive parents who wanted the birth mother to shut up. And through it all, the journalist brings up a fabulous point:
There are so many secrets in families today as a consequence of adoption. The 42,000 women [in Ireland] who had their babies adopted in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s are living with the consequences, and so are their families.
The journalist then goes on to share some emails that readers sent her in hopes that they will inspire others to deal with their secrets. The birth mother that spawned all of this sharing agrees, because “you can’t do it alone.” I’ve said that time and time again and that’s why I continue to share. I don’t want birth mothers of any generation, whatever the country, to feel as if they are going this alone. And so, I share.
I urge you to go ahead and read through the three articles. There’s one personal story that rubs me the wrong way as it talks about how birth mothers sharing their pain will make other mothers considering adoption shy away from the idea but it is part of a whole idea on the concept. I was just really fascinated to read all the different stories. So many experiences. So many voices. So much to be said.