Words Matter

I hadn’t fully realized until just the other day what the phrase often encountered in adoption issues – “given away” – indicates.  The truth is most original mothers did NOT give their child away.

Many were coerced in some manner.  My maternal grandmother was definitely pressured by Georgia Tann after falling into a trap.  I’m fairly certain my paternal grandmother was pressured by the Salvation Army.  I know one of my sisters was influenced by our own adoptee mom as unbelievable as that seems now that I know more about the emotional wounds most adoptees suffer to some degree or another, even when they end up in a “good” adoptive family (which I can say about all of the adoptees in my own family).

The truth is, however, in all of these cases the babies were “taken away” from their original mothers for some “reason” or other.  That has a very different connotation from a mother actually, willingly, consciously, wanting to “give away” her baby.

When a child ends up being raised by anyone who is not their original parents, they have been separated from family.  It is true that some children end up abandoned and that is a truly sad state of affairs when it happens.  And some mothers simply do not believe they are good enough, worthy or deserve to have the child they birthed, for whatever reason.

Anyway, I realize better now that words matter.