Hi. My name is Sierra and I am a birth mom. I placed my birth son for adoption almost eight years ago. I did not “give him up” or “give him away.” Placing him was one of the hardest things I have ever done. So when someone mentions me “giving him up.” I cringe. Let me explain why the term “placing” is much more suitable for adoption and why the term “give up” is hurtful.
The definition of “give up:”
1. Cease making an effort; resign oneself to failure.
Please reread the definition of “give up” multiple times. Now think of this in the terms of adoption. When someone says “you gave your baby up,” you are essentially saying, “You decided to not make an effort as a parent, and you are a failure.” I am positive that those who use this phrase are unaware. I do not think they are purposely trying to hurt or offend. That is why education is so important. People do not realize they are being hurtful.
The definition of “placed:”
1. Put in a particular position.
Apply that term to adoption. When a birth mom chooses adoption, she is putting her baby in a unique and particular position. Her child will now be in the position of having multiple people who love him or her. She is lovingly placing her child into the arms of someone else. She is trusting that another woman will give her child the love of two mothers. It is a particular position that is done out of love.
I Did Not Give Up
When I chose adoption for my birth son, the last thing I did was give up. My decision was made at the end of pregnancy. I did not choose adoption in the beginning not because I did not believe in adoption, but because I was afraid to think about it. I did not want to think about whether I was strong enough to make such a decision. I was afraid of living without him. I was afraid that I did not have the courage to put his needs above my own. I knew that he deserved a mother and a father from the beginning. I knew that he deserved a chance at life from the beginning. I knew all these things, but I was still afraid to think about adoption. I was afraid because I knew it was the right answer. I spent many nights with a tear-stained pillow resting under my head. I spent countless hours on my knees in prayer asking for guidance. When I finally chose adoption, I was not giving up. I was finally at a place where I was strong enough to make the right decision for my baby.
I Am Not a Failure
I struggled with feeling like a failure after I placed. Could I have done it? Could I raise him on my own? Could I give him the life I thought he deserved? Had I failed? As I asked myself these questions in my deepest hours of darkness, I realized that I already had the answers. I had not failed. Being a birth mom essentially means that pain and grief are going to follow placement. It is typically part of the process. That pain sometimes leads to self-doubt. Yet, every time I received a letter and a picture of my sweet boy, I knew that I had not failed. I knew that he needed to be with his parents to live out the life I had imagined he would have. I was not a failure because I put his needs above my own and that is what any mother would do for her child.
The day I placed my sweet birth son into the arms of his mother was the day I became a birth mother. The moment I placed him in her arms, she became a mother. A birth mother is a unique position. You share your title as mother with another woman. You watch your birth child grow from the sidelines, all the while keeping him or her in your heart. I knew when I placed that I was in a unique position: position of true love. Placing is about love. Placing is about taking an unplanned situation and ensuring that the most innocent of parties benefits the most. I placed my birth son. I did not give up or give away. No one gave up on him. Love and prayer surrounded him before he was born. He was unplanned but not unwanted.
I Gave My Baby More
Next time you are speaking with a member of an adoption circle, try to remove “give up” from your vocabulary. Reread the definitions of “give up” and “placed.” Remember that adoptees are not given up. Their birth mothers lovingly place them into the arms of their parents. They are not giving them up; they are giving them more.