Birth mothers who place a child for adoption come from multiple backgrounds. I feel that the media does not do an excellent job of sharing this versatility. Annaleece Merrill discusses this stigma in her article How Can I Change the Negative Stigma Around Birth Mothers. Like me, she shares her first thought of the stereotypical birth mother placing her child for adoption as a single young woman with little to no financial and emotional resources. She is on drugs, homeless, or she is an alcoholic. And there is a thought that naturally if you want to place your child for adoption, you are an unfit mother. These things are entirely not true.
While writing for Adoption.com, I’ve interviewed many birth mothers. These women came from different stages of life. I’ve interviewed birth mothers who were unmarried but had successful jobs. I’ve interviewed some birth mothers who were in college and were single as well. Finally, I’ve met a birth mother who was married with children who placed her youngest child for adoption. This scenario is Destiny’s background, whom hosts Emma and Mutomi interviewed on Birth Mothers Amplified.
Due to the unconventional nature of this adoption story, I was curious to hear the adoption story of Destiny and her husband. Their decision changed the child, their lives, and the lives of another family. Through the support and encouragement of the social worker, this couple was able to walk through the hardest decision to place a child and become a stronger family. While placing their child for adoption happened through the lowest point of their marriage, they were able to “tough it out” and turn their marriage around to become healthier for all of their children, adopted or unadopted.
About Birth Mothers Amplified
Birth Mothers Amplified is a community where birth moms come together on podcast episodes and YouTube videos to share their stories, answer questions, and discuss adoption. The hosts of Birth Mother Amplified, Emma and Muthoni, are birth mothers who placed their children for adoption. Both women are four years post-placement. Their site states that their community desires to empower birth mothers to “speak their truth,” “be heard,” and share their stories authentically. They are sponsored through the Gladney Center for Adoption.
Destiny is a military wife and a mother. Her husband was in the military for eight years. Destiny and her husband are biological parents of three children but placed the middle child for adoption two years ago. Destiny and her husband have been together for seven and a half years and married for six and a half. She and her husband married two months after having their daughter. She is in school to become a nurse, and she enjoys spending time with her family and loves fishing.
When she was 19, she found out she was pregnant unexpectedly with her then-boyfriend, and they chose to parent the child. The two got married two months after having their daughter. After she was born, they received orders to move to North Carolina. Unfortunately, Destiny’s husband was away for training and deployments, which took a toll on their relationship. It was during this time the couple separated for six months.
I can relate to this couple because we were a military family, and my husband deployed a lot. The separation period took a toll on our marriage, and we were in a rocky place.
They decided to work things out and start fresh at her husband’s next duty in Texas. It was at this time that Destiny became pregnant with their second child. The couple decided to give birth to the child, but not to parent because they felt they were in a “broken family”. Their second child was born four years after their daughter was born. They sat down to figure out their options with the child, and they decided to place the child for adoption. However, they wanted to keep the decision between themselves and agreed to not share it with their family. Today, Destiny says that their family still does not know about placing their middle child for adoption.
The Start of Their Adoption Journey
Destiny and her husband were somewhat familiar with adoption. Destiny has a background with adoption because her mother was a birth mother who placed her sister for adoption. Also, her godmother fostered over fifty children and adopted twenty of those kids. Despite this background, Destiny and her husband felt that they did not know enough about placing a child for adoption; thus, they turned to Google. They found their agency and caseworker with a successful Google search.
They loved their caseworker, and she never made them feel pressured to place their child for adoption. For Destiny and her husband, their caseworker felt like a friend and a therapist. She was very personable and would take them to lunch. They felt their interactions were not business-like but were more personal. Destiny was impressed that her husband was included in every interaction with the social worker–virtual and in-person. In addition, Destiny and her husband were able to look through profile books. They felt drawn to the first family that the caseworker presented to them because they believed the prospective adoptive family had the qualities they were looking for to parent their biological child.
The Adoption Match
Since Destiny and her husband were parents and married, their perspective was different from someone who was not married and childless. They made a list of what they were looking for in parents for their child. They wanted a family-oriented couple, very close, and reminded them of their own family through the profile. Destiny adds that the prospective adoptive family had pictures with various family members and that judging from the pictures, it seemed as though they were family-oriented. Despite feeling comfortable with their decision to match their child with this family, they wanted to meet them over the phone and face-to-face to make sure this was a match.
Thankfully, when they met the couple, they were a match. Their interaction felt very comfortable and natural. Destiny admits that it felt awkward at first, but they became very pleased. All parties wanted to get to know each other, and the social worker mediated the beginning of their relationship. Destiny adds that she thought going to dinner with them was like going to dinner with their family. It was a way for Destiny and her husband to know the prospective adoptive family and their story.
At the dinner, they learned that the adoptive family had been trying to have a child for years. They desperately wanted to be parents and decided to use adoption to grow their family. During the conversation, Destiny confided6 that she was beginning the adoption journey to save her marriage and help someone who could not conceive children. For the couple, this information helped them feel better about their decision not to parent.
Emma asked Destiny was there ever a time that they second-guessed being a parent. Destiny answered Emma simply, “No.” She explains that the caseworker made them feel comfortable and encouraged them to change their minds if they wanted to parent. The couple agreed that pursuing adoption was needed to bring a child into a healthier living situation. Destiny shared that she was stunned when she felt that it was not uncommon for families to place a child for adoption, and Emma agreed. It is common for birth mothers to be married and place their children for adoption. After choosing a family, they wrote out a birth plan for the hospital stay with their social worker and discussed the arrangements of the openness of their adoption.
A Semi-Open Adoption
Destiny and her husband agreed with the adoptive family to have a semi-open adoption. However, Destiny explains that all parties want the relationship shared with the rest of their family that they placed their middle child for adoption.
Time in the Hospital
The child was born in Texas. Destiny’s husband and her four-year-old daughter at the time were present in the hospital room with her while she was waiting to have the baby. Destiny says they were all in the hospital room together, but the adoptive parents had their space. After the baby was born, they all took turns holding the baby and then decided to do placement immediately afterward. The adoption paperwork was signed at the hospital. It was hard for Destiny and her husband, but they left believing that they did the right thing out of love for their child. Destiny adds that the labor and delivery nurse at the hospital was curious about why she wanted to place her child for adoption when she had a husband and a child of her own. Destiny explained parts of her story to the nurse.
Additionally, she shared that she felt it was best for the child to go with an adoptive family while working out her relationship with her husband. She had a positive hospital stay with the doctors and nurses in the hospital. The hospital day was positive overall, and that made her feel better.
The Adoption Journey Today
Today, both families continue to share photos and letters. Destiny and her husband contact the adoptive family as well. Their marriage has turned around; she and her husband are back together, and they are doing much better. They bought a house together, and they are more settled post-military. They hope they are open with the daughter and son who live with them about the child they placed for adoption. It is not their desire to keep the adoption a secret from the children. As the children all get older, they will discuss how they can meet and get together with the adoptive parents. Destiny will graduate from nursing school. Also, at the taping of the podcast, Destiny and her husband recently had a baby who was eight months old.
Advice for the Prospective Birth Family
Destiny believes that it is between the birth parents to place a child. If it is the best choice for you, then it is the best choice. She believes that it was the best choice for their family, and it made their family healthier. Her family was able to restart and gain a fresh start. I believe that with this new start that the birth mother should join a supportive community. In her article, Birth Mother Support Groups, Leslie Bolin recommends that post-adoption birth mothers should join a community of other birth mothers. She explains the different types of groups for the birth families to join.
My Thoughts about the Interview
This interview represents all that I respect about Birth Mothers Amplified. They give a voice to all types of birth mothers. Destiny spoke from a place of thoughtfulness and hope. I loved it when it emphasized that the choice is with the birth parents and not additional relatives. There should be no shame in being a birth mother. In her article How Do Birth Mothers Cope After Placing a Child, Heather Mitchell writes, “A birth mom will struggle, but that struggle is worth fighting through. If I could answer this question, ‘How do birth mothers cope after placing a child?’ I might say this: ‘One day at a time, with tears in her eyes and a smile on her face. She chooses LOVE’”. For Destiny and her husband, the decision behind placing came from a place of genuine love, thoughtfulness, and hope.Are you considering placing a child for adoption? Not sure what to do next? First, know that you are not alone. Visit Adoption.org or call 1-800-ADOPT-98 to speak to one of our Options Counselors to get compassionate, nonjudgmental support. We are here to assist you in any way we can.