April 28th, 2008
Posted By:
Categories: Closed Adoption

It’s never a good sign when you’re frustrated with the general public on a Monday morning before the clock reads eight o’clock. Is this a sign of the week to come? All the same, I was reading a very, very happy reunion story out of Texas. I mean, everything just seemed to work together for good in this piece. It’s a case of married birth parents, an adoptee who could also double as a secret spy and an eventual happy reunion. I was going to give my thoughts on some of that until I read the comments.

Now, to understand my misgivings, you need to read this particular quote from the story. Remember that this adoption took place 45 years ago, deep in the throes of the closed adoption era. This quote speaks volumes about the times.

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As a single teenage mother, she was given one option: Give the child up for adoption.

It is not uncommon for this to be part of mothers’ stories from this particular era. There simply wasn’t a choice available to these young mothers. They weren’t counseled about their actual right to parent and abortion wasn’t yet legal. Like so many others, this particular mother was shipped off to live with family to hide the pregnancy.

And so, this particular comment made my blood boil.

What a wonderful story, thanks to the choice of adoption instead of abortion!

There are some options as to why the commenter did not comprehend this story. Perhaps the line which I quoted was skipped over because the reader really wanted to consume the story and was doing a skimming job instead of really reading. Perhaps the reader missed the fact that this birth took place 45 years ago, thus taking place before Roe vs. Wade. Perhaps this reader really has no concept of the fact that there simply wasn’t a choice back then, not having read books like The Girls Who Went Away. Whatever the case, the commenter seemed to lack the understanding of what happened to the mother in this story.

But it’s aggravating.

I get mad for mothers of the closed era. What choice was this mother given? How can we thank the choice for the wonderful story? This wasn’t choice. This was a sign of the times. This was just the way things were at that point in history.

I, as a mother who placed in this century, had a choice to abort. I didn’t make that decision because it wasn’t right for me. Even still, our story is not a happy story thanks to the choice of adoption over abortion. That’s not what it is about and I hate that any adoption story is immediately diminished into something that it is not by people with an agenda.

All in all, ignore my early morning ranting and go read the article to start your week off on a warm, fuzzy note.

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For more on closed adoption, read these posts.

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2 Responses to “What Choice?”

  1. Julia Fuller says:

    It is true that parents of that era had considerable influence on the choices their children made. If the mother was still a teenager, then she may have “had” to obey her parents because that is what society dictated. While the women’s lib movement did begin in the 60′s it really wasn’t until the 70s that women really began to stand up for themselves, especially young women. Children were to be seen and not heard and that included teenagers. It is a much different lifestyle now. We now look at teenagers as people with opinions, options, and rights. I know, I’m showing my age:-) I’m not sure any choice has a “very happy” ending. Young girls who choose abortion tend to grieve the decision and regret it the rest of their lives as well. Had a young girl parented, she would grieve giving up a part of her childhood, perhaps even her continuing education. I often wonder why my husbands birthmother refuses to meet or talk to him. He is now 44. Perhaps she has similar reasons, or maybe she doesn’t want to regrieve her loss, maybe she thought she passed through it. If she really had though, then it seems that she would be able to meet or talk to him. Sorry, I’m rambling.

  2. thomasina says:

    I thought the story was great, thanks for sharing, Jenna!
    (I agree, the comment about the “choice” was ignorant).

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