The Mighty Logo

Placing a Child for Adoption Was More Traumatizing Than My Abortion

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

U.S. Supreme Court justice Amy Coney Barrett missed the mark when comparing the trauma of abortion to adoption: take it from a birth mom, adoption was infinitely harder for me.

I was so excited when I made up my mind to have a baby. I was single and just out of a relationship. I wanted a kid of my own, so I went to a sperm bank and made it happen.

It’s a girl!

There were so many joys in the early days. She did say dada first (heartbreaking for a single lesbian mom), but other than that it was all as I had dreamed. About two years in things changed and times were not so happy. I began having trouble with my mental health and she began regressing.

After two years of trying to get well I placed my daughter for adoption. Luckily, we were not state involved, and we had a private adoption (which has its pluses and minuses). Here I was a woman who intentionally had a baby only to have to give her away at the age of 4.

Justice Amy Coney Barrett sat on the Supreme Court bench and listened to a case on a 15 week abortion ban in Mississippi. Even though she is an adoptive mom, she is so ignorant to the ramifications of adoption on children and the biological family that she put adoption forward as a simple, non-traumatic option to an abortion. She suggested that it was a simple alternative that would be easy to implement when faced with an unwanted pregnancy.

Justice Barrett gave birth to five children. I wonder if she would not be affected at dropping her newborn off to strangers and never looking back, having no long term repercussions.

As someone who had an abortion due to incest and then lost her other daughter to adoption there is no comparison. My biological connection to a 6-week-old fetus and that of a grown baby is infinitely different.

The impact on the adopted child (or the child left to languish in foster care, as many BIPOC children do) is not what fairy tales are made of. We are taught that this is great that a new family is formed. But what about the bond the child built in the womb. Being cared for under the heartbeat of the birth mother. The child knows all about her. That separation is permanent and damaging and can never be healed, even in reunion. Too much is lost.

The birth mom who brought the child to term is equally traumatized. Like me, my child is out there somewhere, and I do not know how she is today. If all her needs are being met. If she is being abused. Does she hate me? Does she know I love her? I miss her so much that I can barely breath. The shock of the loss left me depressed, despondent and suicidal. How was I supposed to go on without her? She was my everything. The center of my universe and now she was gone.

This is how birth families often feel. This is not some simple alternative to abortion. That is a lie to make the political right feel better, but there is no truth to the notion.

Justice Barrett appears to be doing a disservice to her two adopted children from Haiti. Not acknowledging their grief over their loss of their family of origin must be hard on them.

I hope as a mother she will grow and see her perspective around the creation of family is complex and is not a fairytale; these are people’s lives we are talking about.

How ever you chose to become a parent or not, you are not in the wrong. You are still Mighty strong!

Getty image by cyano66

Originally published: January 12, 2022
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home