The Baby Scoop Era Mothers were the women who were unmarried, and had become pregnant after World War II, and prior to the legalization of abortion. These mothers were sent away into “Maternity Homes” where they were forced to sign relinquishment papers, and sign away their legal rights to parent the child.

The women talk about the effects on their lives, by surrendering their children. They were sent away, and people were told that they went away to live with aunts, or went to a different school. When they returned, they were not allowed to speak of their experience. Many of these women were teenagers, and were intimidated both by their experience in the maternity homes, and often times in their own home, where they were told never to mention their experience again.

In the article, “Empty Arms, Empty Heart” in the Detroit News, Janet McDonald spoke about her experience:

“It felt like I was living a counterfeit life. Over and over, I was told I could have my reputation back if I just would tear her from my mind and heart; basically if I would live the lie. But how do you forget that you are a mother? How do you forget that someone else is raising your child because you were declared unfit and without any resources?”

These mothers carried a sadness and grief, that they were never told they would feel. But, even more, there are women who tried to have more children, and were unable to.

Connie Courtade, 57, from Sparta never conceived again after giving up her daughter in 1969 at age 20.

And it was not for lack of trying (she married twice). “I was desperate to have another baby, but never did,” she said. “I always felt like I was being punished for having given away my daughter. Leaving her in that hospital was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life, the single largest, most regrettable act of my life.

“There were years of guilt, despair and trying to drink away the loss. I learned that all the trauma that followed in my life afterwards had such a physical effect on my body that that was the reason I couldn’t ever get pregnant again.”

Filled with grief, filled with the knowledge that they had been forced to do something that would not only cause them grief, but also would affect their bodies for the rest of their lives, some of these mothers are calling out, attempting to raise awareness of the affects of adoption. They believe that if people knew the consequences of adoption, both on the mothers, the families, and their children who were adopted, that adoption really would be a last resort, if not ending it completely.

Laurie Frisch wrote the article, “Dear Birthmother, is Adoption Worth All the Grief”, and she concludes by stating that:

Tragically, some mothers find that their child is not at all better off adopted. Separated from their mothers and family, many adoptees including those adopted at birth and even those with some contact with their natural family have been diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder and drugged. Other adoptees later tell their mother straight out she would have been the perfect mother for them.

Adoption is inhumane, especially when a mother has not been proven to be unfit and wants her child. Although mothers are often made to feel they are all alone, few mothers are completely friendless and with absolutely no support. The very people counseling her could acknowledge her as the mother of her child and help her keep her child. Nurses, doctors and others could disclose the known effects of separation on a mother and her child. Church people could have a fund-raiser, donate a few of their baby items or take her around to garage sales just for fun. They might suggest shared housing for single mothers so they can help each other or advise mothers on the availability of government programs to help them get on their feet. They could lobby for adequate government programs for natural families, including a training program similar to the government-funded Infant Adoption Awareness Training but with the focus of educating everyone in the community about the most loving option – keeping family together.

Mothers do not deserve this cruel life sentence for giving birth. Unless parents are proven to be unfit rather than being just frightened or poor, adoption is not worth the grief.

Not only should adoption be a last resort, but that it could have been prevented. The hundreds of thousands of families of adoption loss, that suffer generations to come, could have had, and could have in the future, a way to truly help these families.

Heather Kuhn is an author, and she blogs on Todays News and the Blogger News Network

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