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Initial post: Mar 17, 2006 7:38:54 PM PST
I was 16..living in the upper midldle class surburb of Westchester County when I got pregant...It was so much more important that "he" wasn't "tied" to me...he had a future, he was going to be a lawyer...It was my mistake, my responsiity...he had imortant future...I was a girl who had to keep a secret...That was the overall important thing...what will the neighbors say?
It was January when they(mother grandmother) figgured it out...I didn't go back to school after ther Holiday'....When it all became cleaar I was sent to a Catholic Home in the Bronx...Rosilie Hall...about as far you can get from my
College, Sarah Lawrence, My family was afraid when I decided to go there...Oh my got she will be a Communist...instead I was a "unwed mother" sent off to a convent where they changed my name and set out to care for me during my unwed pregancy....
Here I am 37 years later still clear as day....When my son was born they were walking on the moon...I left Roseley Hall and the catholic church three days later, having angered the nuns with my refusal to have my son baptised....Somehow it became clear to me that if he was baptised he woud only be elegable to be adopted by a catholic family...I refused to do it...In my heard I know he was baptised by nuns or nurses who baptise the babies born to unmaried mothers. I didn't want my son to be limited by religion, ethnic idenity...I wanted him to get the best family he could witho9ut any limits...If he was baptised Catholic then his future was limited...I wanted him adoped by Jews, Agnostics, Uniteritans...I just wanted him not to be limited in any way...there werent alot of irish catholics willing to adopt a biracial child....

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 4, 2006 7:53:11 AM PDT
Fruit Loop says:
I'm so sorry that happened to you. Here's a hug for that wounded mom!

Are there any adoptees out there who ended up in abusive homes? Everyone preaches that if you're abused "TELL SOMEBODY!" but if you're adopted, you must be lying because adoptive parents are saintly souls who open their home to you the poor unwanted b*st**rd. Boils my blood to hear birthparents slandered, and this view that the evil fruit of their illicit sex - the child - is magically "cleansed" and "redeemed" by the adoption.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 23, 2006 12:54:20 PM PDT
Irene,

I, too, was 16 and had no choice.

It was late February 1968 and, when my boyfriend refused to marry me, arrangements were made to send me to St. Mary's Unwed Mother's home in Dorchester, MA, once school ended in June.

Back then, the boys held all the power. My future and the future of our unborn child rested entirely in his 17 year old hands. To think, if he had married me for just one month, one week, or even one single day, I could have kept my daughter.

FYI - I was fortunate enough to have been chosen to be one of the "girls" interviewed for author, Ann Fessler's, "Everlasting" exhibit, which, I believe, was the impetus for "The Girls Who Went Away" ... I anxiously await its release.

"The Girls Who Went Away" promises to be as powerful as it is profound.

In reply to an earlier post on May 3, 2006 9:05:12 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on May 3, 2006 9:05:55 AM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on May 3, 2006 9:08:26 AM PDT
Daisywings says:
Don't you think that is a little unfair? I don't think the majority of adoptees were abused. At least not children being adopted from my agency in Dallas. It boils my blood to hear adoptive parents slandered as well. I couldn't ask for better parents and neither could my adopted brother.

No one ever spoke negatively about my birthparents to me in my life. I've met them. It was like meeting someone I talk to on the phone at work. "face with a name". The heavens didn't open up and lightening didn't jolt my heart like it does for reunions on tv. My family is my family and, although I am grateful to them for giving me up for adoption, my birthparents are just people I know.

In reply to an earlier post on May 4, 2006 7:28:04 AM PDT
Of course the majority of adopted persons are not abused by their adoptive parents...the majority of people are not abused by their parents! Abuse happens in some small percentage of all homes - adoptive or not. I think the original writer simply wanted to point out the fact that adoptive parents are not any more saintly than natural parents and that some of them abuse their children....adoptive parents are not being slandered - they are just not better in any way than the original article. They adopt because they want a family for themselves, an entirely human desire. They are not altruistic rescuers as many would portray them. If that were the case, they would adopt the young mother and her child, a ridiculous notion. And, if they were not so desirous of adopting the unplanned children of women who lack resources, the demand for babies would dry up and there would be more public support for these mothers to keep and rear their own children. Adoptive parents are humans with the same desires, strengths and weaknesses as any one else. NO more or less. Sorry you gave such short shift to your biological parents...you will miss out on knowing a great deal about yourself by minimizing their connection to just "people I know"...

In reply to an earlier post on May 5, 2006 3:24:23 PM PDT
Actually, in the early 1960s, some of the adoption agencies (I can't speak for all of them, just the one that handled my adoption, The New York Foundling Hospital), placed bi-racial children in Black homes/neighborhoods. In my neighborhood alone, there were at least five bi-racial children placed in homes with Black parents - myself (German/Swedish and Black), two that were Hispanic and Black, my adoptive brother and another young girl, one that was Irish and Black, and another girl that I don't know her ethnicity, but she looked exactly like me, although we were two years apart in age, and were placed with two different families.

I haven't read the book, because I only heard of it for the first time last night, reading the book reviews in People. I'm looking forward to reading it, and learning a little bit more about the other side of the story.

In reply to an earlier post on May 13, 2006 6:33:03 PM PDT
Fruit Loop says:
Daisywings, my experience for the last 20 years in adoptee support groups has been that you either had a very good adoptive experience or a very bad one. Unfortunately the very good ones all have your reaction; since it didn't happen to them, it must not have happened to anyone else either. In my day adoptees were all unwanted children from bad mothers who were rescued by the adoptives, whose sole reason for adopting was to rescue you, that poor, unwanted, unloved thing. In fact, reading "Mommie Dearest" was the very first time I had ever heard of another adoptee being abused. It just "didn't happen" hence the shock when Lisa Steinberg was murdered by her adoptive parents.

Dallas? I can tell you about the boy adopted from the Gladney Home whose police officer father stood him against the back fence every night and bounced basketballs OFF HIS HEAD to "toughen him up" and whipped him when he cried.

Adoptive parents are exactly that....PARENTS. They're just as likely to make mistakes as other parents, but unfortunately they get the benefit of the doubt more often BECAUSE they are adoptive parents. The stereotype of saint protects them.

It protects mine to this day. People still don't believe me, or think I should keep quiet "because of all they did for you." No thanks.

In reply to an earlier post on May 22, 2006 12:03:32 PM PDT
Daisywings says:
"Sorry you gave such short shift to your biological parents...you will miss out on knowing a great deal about yourself by minimizing their connection to just "people I know"... "

Can you explain that to me? What do you think I would learn about myself from being closer to them? Ultimately my birth mother was the one to discontinue communication because it was too painful for her to not be able to be my mother 30 years later. My birth father was very detached from the whole thing and for 30 years he thought she had a boy.

I'm not being flip -- I do really want to know what you would think I would learn about myself by being closer to them.

In reply to an earlier post on May 24, 2006 5:31:58 PM PDT
I am not the person you are talking to, but I am a birthmother who found my son, and I would like to reply.

Having found my son, I see that he has a tremendous amount in common with many of his birth relatives he has never met. You might discover the same thing. During the '50's and '60's, it was assumed that a child was "a blank slate". Now we know that genetics plays a very strong role.

Additionally, you would have the chance to look more deeply into your own adoption issues and become a more self aware person -- no small feat. Even though I sense that currently you probably believe adoption was largely irrelevant to you, this is not really true. Every adoptee was first removed from everything familiar to them before being placed with replacement people. I am glad your adoptive parents were good for you, but the truth is you have two mothers and two fathers, even if you never knew them. Maybe if you give your birthmother another chance, she will have wised up enough to realize that you're not the child she lost anymore and maybe you and she could have a special relationship between the two adults you now are.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 6, 2006 11:08:15 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Dec 30, 2010 9:24:06 AM PST]

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 6, 2006 11:08:41 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Jun 6, 2006 11:09:34 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 24, 2006 6:56:43 PM PDT
L. Turner says:
Hello Ms. Souza,
The article about you & Joanne in Sep 18th People Magazine was very moving. She definitely looks like her mom! Best wishes to you and your family. Lindsey from Kansas

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 6, 2007 12:08:48 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 6, 2007 12:10:38 PM PST
Irene: Bravo! You sound like you were very insightful for a 16 year old. It is still difficult to prevent children from being branded with the dogma of a religious institution even today. It had to be even harder under your circumstances at that time. I applaud your young insight and strength.

In reply to an earlier post on May 24, 2008 9:50:05 AM PDT
Reader says:
Yes. I'm an adoptee who ended up in a home where, at the tender age of five, my parents divorced and my mother ended up remarrying an abusive alcoholic. My childhood was a mix of very good and very bad. I think my adoptive mother would be enraged to know the truth about it because she was told I'd have a better life. I know my adoptive parents love me dearly, but I certainly don't believe I had a better life.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 1, 2008 12:40:36 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Jul 6, 2008 9:33:17 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 6, 2008 1:44:45 PM PDT
hello Irene, my name is terri and my birthmom was also in Rosilie Hall (i was born june 2,1959) my adoptionwas handled by NY foundling hospital. I would love to thank my birthmom for all she had to go through....but I am unable to find her. perhaps your experience would help me???

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 6, 2008 1:50:57 PM PDT
hi, thank you for your post.........I wonder if your experience could help me locate my Birthmom? My mom was in Rosalie hall and the NY foundling agency handled my adoption (i was born june 2, 1959) I would love to hear your experience if you would be able to help me thank you in advance. sincerely, terri

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 15, 2008 5:58:56 PM PDT
horse girl says:
Reader, first, I want to say I am so sorry for your experience. It is so sad when kids are brought up in abusive homes.

Your situation is very much the type of situation that I knew could happen if I gave my daughter up for adoption (something that my parents wanted me to do). I had to protect my daughter and I knew that if I gave her up for adoption I wouldn't be able to do this if, indeed, it turned out that her adoptive parents turned out to be less than ideal. It's too bad that the laws don't allow a birth mother to get her child back if the adoptive parents turn out to be bad for the child.
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Participants:  14
Total posts:  19
Initial post:  Mar 17, 2006
Latest post:  Aug 15, 2008

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The Girls Who Went Away: The Hidden History of Women Who Surrendered Children for Adoption in the Decades Before Roe V. Wade
The Girls Who Went Away: The Hidden History of Women Who Surrendered Children for Adoption in the Decades Before Roe V. Wade by Ann Fessler (Audio CD)
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