About The Mothers Project . . .
I wrote TMP to tell the stories of millions of girl/mothers like mine who lost their infants to adoption in generations past, when "unwed" motherhood was unacceptable unthinkable in most middle-class families.
The Mothers Project begins with some history of the Florence Crittenton Maternity Homes, which were started by Kate Waller Barrett and Charles Crittenton over 100 years ago. I have so much respect for Dr Barrett and Mr. Crittenton what kind-hearted souls. Their mission was to keep mother and baby together. In their maternity homes the girl/mothers learned how to run a proper household, had art classes and learned skills to help them support their babies. I wrote a song, Enamel on Copper, about the homes and the demise of that "keeping" philosophy.
Most middle-class girl/mothers were sent to maternity homes in large cities. There were hundreds of them (The Florence Crittenton Homes, and others) in the United States, and abroad. I had a hunch, however, that wealthy, upper-class families had their own network of maternity homes and, perhaps, benefitted "medically" from their social relationships with physicians.
"Indeed," said a very proper older lady (with whom I shared several martinis as we discussed this topic, some years ago). Decades before Roe v Wade made abortion legal, wealthy single girls and married women (!), she confided, always had access to safe abortions, courtesy of their physician-friends. I don't know if formal research supports this claim, but my money's on the dowager's martini-mellowed account ...:)
I have interviewed many mothers from the infamous BSE "baby scoop era" (1950 - 1970's) and they, like our girl/mothers of previous generations, never got over the loss of their babies. It is important that these stories be told so their children now in their 30's, 40's and older know they were not "gifts" joyously, gratefully handed to strangers, and forgotten. We were loved and missed, all our lives.
Most mothers want to see their children, again. A very few were so devastated by the cruel, forced surrender of their first-born sons or daughters, they remain in denial about the event. A few were raped. Many were very much in love. Again, most mothers want to see their children before they die. I can't tell you the anguish and regret so many adoptees experience when they find graves instead of greetings. And, I know some who have had the great honor of meeting their mothers just months before they passed away. Truly a blessing.
Many adopted adults are curious about their mothers, but believe they were unwanted, "given away" and forgotten. It is very important that adoptees know that their mothers were forbidden to look for them. The secrecy around adopting (closed records) was never to protect the identity of the mother; it was always to reassure the adoptive mother that the natural mother would never come looking for her child.
I encourage reunion between adopted adults and their mothers, in all circumstances. You don't have to stay in contact if you don't get along, but at least you know who and where each other is; at least you know! Millions do not know, and never will.
Going into reunion requires two things: mothers have few expectations that there will be more meetings and a loving relationship. I hope there are more meetings, but it might be best to take counsel from some other moms who are in successful reunions. Adoptees have lots of compassion for this woman who never had a choice or support to keep you, who never wanted to lose you.
Older generations of mothers were likely shamed by their own mothers, churches and societies and forbidden to bring their babies home. Recent generations were/are schmoozed and told they must do the right and noble thing give their baby a better life, two parents, give the gift of parenthood to an infertile couple, etc. Your mother probably had not one person willing to help her keep you, support you. Just listen, without interruption, without judgement. To both of you, I say ... Go for it! Some web sites listed here offer helpful suggestions for how to have a good reunion experience.
Among the web sites and resources here will be at least one or two with whom you fit, perfectly. Others might not be a good fit. That's ok. Keep trying them on until you read or hear what you need. And, don't hesitate to change "outfits" ...:) Some web site and chats and people are perfect for particular times in your life, then you might outgrow them, might need to move on. That's fine, too. Trust your instincts.
To adoptive parents/mostly adoptive mothers: Reunion is necessary and healing for the mothers and their children. Be kind.
Girl/mothers of today, who do not have family support, are as vulnerable to adoption coercion and theft of their babies as our mothers were.
Today there is little societal shame against single motherhood as in the past, but there is a huge market/demand for white infants and toddlers. Today's girl/mothers are less shamed and stigmatized; instead, they are schmoozed, recruited, encouraged to "do the noble thing" by providing a good life for their babies.
Perhaps, they are allowed to choose the adoptive parents and assured that they may continue to be part of their child's life. Naive and trusting, these young mothers are much in need of help. Unfortunately, as in the past, baby brokers, government agencies and private agencies help themseves to the babies! Adoption coercion is still flourishing. It's just that, today, coercion wears a smile instead of a frown ...:)