Daily Archives: November 9, 2014

Myths and Truths About Birth Mothers

Elle Cuardaigh’s thought-provoking piece about birth mothers and stereotypes reminded me of the day I found out who my birth mother was.

Before I knew the facts, I assumed my mother had been really young and naïve when she got pregnant with me. Not true. Lillian was a 28-year-old married woman when she gave birth to me in Skokie, Illinois in the 1960s.

Married? If she had been married, why would she have given me up for adoption? Married women don’t do that. My husband, Tom, and I figured she must have been lying about her marital status to make herself seem more respectable.

We were dead wrong. Turns out Lillian was indeed married, the mother of four young children. Her husband was convinced I was not his child so he ordered Lillian to give me up which she did. Not long after that, Lillian and Dick split up and she remarried a few years later.

My birth mother, Lillian, was a married mother of four when she had me
My birth mother, Lillian, was a married mother of four when she had me

I found out more surprising things about Lillian’s life including the fact that she had attended college, something my parents had never achieved. Birth moms are asking, “why is that surprising?”  Forgive me for making assumptions.

Searching for the truth about my birth parents has opened my eyes to so many truths, myths and lies about adoption. It would be an understatement to call adoption complicated. Every adoptee, birth mom and adoptive parent has a unique story.

Way back when I was a journalism student, I learned the folly of making assumptions. “If you a-s-s-u-m-e, you make an ass of you and me.”

I no longer make assumptions about the parents who brought me into the world or for that matter, the parents who raised me. That would be stupid.  I think it’s safe to assume the longer I pursue the truth about my roots, the more surprises I’ll turn up.