aabm #11: telling people you’re a birth mom

Apr 9, 2010

what is ask a birth mom (aabm)? click HERE.
who are the birth mothers on the panel? click HERE.

today my aabm panel is answering the following:

Are you open about the fact you placed a child for adoption, or do you only let people know who you can trust?


I am very open to telling anyone and everyone bc I feel not enough people know and are aware of adoption and how open it can be. I am very fortunate to get to visit tyson, get phone calls, TONS of pictures and other fun stuff. Because I have such a great open relationship with tyson and family, people see all these things and have questions! Besides that, regular or random questions people ask somehow most always end up with tyson! (which I don’t mind at all) some people I might go into less detail with but not usually. I’ve gotten everything from very negative to very positive from total strangers!


Personally, it depends on the situation. I don’t exactly broadcast the fact that I’m a birth mom, but in certain situations I think it’s appropriate to mention it. A lot of people still don’t know about it, but everyone who is really close to me knows. I think it’s definitely a personal choice and varies tremendously from person to person. I’m still a little cautious about mentioning it to people.. just for the judgments passed etc, but in time eventually everyone will know.


It seems like the older my son gets, the more open I am about him. At
first I was terrified to tell anyone my plans even when I was pregnant
thanks to some not-so-kind comments, then I had to deal with the same
comments after I placed my son, now I’m finally confident enough to
stop caring what other people think about my decision. I’m not going
to lie and say that I’m always polite when I hear the rude comments,
but I’m not as defensive as I used to be.

Most of my friends from high school still have no idea. Honestly, I
doubt they’ll ever find out. I have told a few of my really close
friends about him, but that’s basically because I’m moving home for
the summer. While a lot of my college friends know and are pretty
supportive, I’ve heard some comments I’d rather not hear from some of
them about what they would have done. Unsolicited advice isn’t always
kind when it comes to my age group. We’re still trying to figure out
how to be tactful. The one thing I’m afraid of is navigating the
whole dating scene. I’m obviously not ashamed of him, it’s just an
awkward thing to bring up. I don’t want to do it too soon and freak
out the poor guy. I also don’t want to wait for months and months
before I mention him like he’s an afterthought. The guy I’ve been
seeing found out when he got into my car and found a book about being
a birth mother in my passenger seat. Surprise! Imagine how THAT car
ride went.

While I don’t have “I’m a Birth mother” tattooed on my wrist, I wear
necklaces that have my son’s name on them with pride. (Why yes…they
ARE all from the r house.) I have pictures of him on my walls, I carry
a picture of him in my purse, and he’s the background on my phone. He
isn’t “hidden” like I assumed he would be. It’s kind of my little way
of saying we aren’t horrible people, we just made a mistake. My family
doesn’t agree with the fact that I tell people about him, but they’re
trying to comprehend the fact that I’m not ashamed of who I am. I
didn’t take the easy way out of the situation, I’m not embarrassed
when it comes to my son, and I’d still make the same decision if I
could go back in time. I have nothing to hide anymore.


I’m very open about it to probably about 99% of the people I associate with.
I do this because I want to get Adoption out there. I want everyone to know that Adoption is an option and a GREAT one. I love Adoption and I want everyone to know that.

The only time I do not tell other people is when I for some reason, don’t feel like I should. That’s rare but it does happen. I also don’t tell most of the guys I date right away. Some of them know in advance, but the ones that don’t, I choose to wait until they get to know me a little better. :)


I am very open about being a birthmother and having placed. It’s not the first phrase out of my mouth, but it is something I am proud of and am passionate about. It is part of who I am and I am not reserved about who I am. Not everyone is supportive or kind. But I made the right decision and I have peace, and no one can take that away from me.


I am not open with everyone I know or meet about my past.

I placed my baby for adoption 14 years ago this year. And when I found out that I was pregnant, I initially only told a sister-in-law, that I trusted. I was living away from home, and it wasn’t until I was 6 months along that I finally told my parents. I tried to keep it a secret for as long as I could. And when it became physically obvious, I went “off the grid”. I was a good Mormon girl, who was disappointed and humiliated to be in the situation I was in. I knew better. But, in an effort to try to maintain a horrible and destructive relationship, I gave up the most valuable virtue I had.

It has only been in the last few years that I have been able to tell some family members and close friends that I trust. Not everyone is supportive and encouraging of a girl who found herself pregnant out of wedlock. And even though that experience was created out of sin, I feel that because I chose adoption I was carried by my Savior- and it was one of the most spiritual and valued experiences of my life. It is a sacred experience to me. And the baby that I placed and his family are a special and important part of my life. I would never want to share that with someone who would judge me, or my choice harshly. So I choose carefully whom I share that part of my life with.


There are times when I want to shout it from the rooftops that I placed a baby for adoption. I feel like people may understand me better when I’m having a meltdown; however I don’t want it to be a crutch or “the” reason behind every emotional moment.

Even though it’s very much part of who I am, I’m selective with those I share that part of me with. I want it to be reverenced. It’s a pearl that I don’t want to be cast before swine.

It’s also hard to share, because it causes me to touch basis with reality, yet it also helps me to process and teach others how positive adoption can be and clear up misconceptions.

It’s usually very clear to me the moments that I am to share, like the other day at work I went to lunch with a girl that’s younger then be by about 8 years. She just had a baby and is struggling to be a single mom. She asked me why I moved to Utah and it opened up a great conversation about me placing Calli for adoption and my thoughts and her feelings about how she wonders if she could do it now. It was a short and sweet conversation but thought provoking. Also an opportunity for her to see that it is possible to keep going forward after placing a child.


Honestly, it depends on the situation. Obviously, I’m very open about my adoption story on the internet and often times that leads over to my everyday life as well so for the most part anyone who’s a permanent part of my life knows.

When I’m meeting new people it’s a little different. There have been times where it comes up in a conversation with some random person in line at the store or someone somewhere asks me how many kids I have. This is where it gets tricky. If I’m in the mood, I’ll respond and explain about Charlie being adopted and use the moment as a way to explain about open adoption or birthmothers but if I’m not in the mood to be a poster girl for birthmoms at that moment in time and this is a stranger I’m talking to that I’m very unlikely to run into again then my answer is usually very simple like “I have two kids” and I don’t go into detail that I parent one and placed one for adoption.

if you have more questions after reading this post on topics that relate specifically to the answers these birth moms just gave us, then feel free to ask them in the comments and i am sure they will answer them in comment form.

if you have additional questions that are not answered here or questions that don’t relate to this post, please email me or comment on this post and i will add them to the list for the birth mothers to answer.


  1. Jessica K. said on April 9, 2010 at 9:50 am

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this!
    I have become such an open minded person about adoptions and also open adoptions. Here in Germany teenage girls mostly parent and it drives me nuts. I see them in groups at the park standing there with a stroller, a bottle of beer and about 5 guys around them smoking. It makes me so mad. These precious children deserve so much better, yet adoption doesnt seem like an option for most girls. When you are under a certain age your parents have custody of the baby and I think most teens take advantage of that and dont even put a single though toward adoption. We need more advocates here!!

  2. Anonymous said on April 9, 2010 at 11:04 am

    Jessica's comment about Germany is so interesting. I found that Denmark is the same way. It seems like if a European wants to adopt they have to go abroad to places like Africa and China. I have seen several families from Germany completed that way. :). I wanted to ask birthmother Carly a question. How does your other child feel about adoption? Do they get upset about it? This question goes for all the birthmoms with other children. But I am especially interested to hear from bm's whose other children are old enough to express their feelings about it. Do they resent you for taking away their sibling? Do they cry for them? Do they understand they are bio siblings? Do they have a relationship with their adopted bio sibling? Do they embrace adoption like their mother does? Children are so brutally honest. I would love to hear their perspective. :)

  3. Sean and Sierra said on April 9, 2010 at 11:35 am

    I'm happy you had a post about this. I'm also very open with the fact that I placed my son for adoption. I may not tell random people on the street, but if a person knows me, they know I'm a birth mom. I feel the same as the other birth moms, that we are spreading the word on adoption. Many people have a bad view of birth moms, that we are these party girls that just didn't want a kid. So, when they find out I'm a birth mom, if changes their perspective. Thanks again for posting this! =)

  4. Anonymous said on April 9, 2010 at 5:26 pm

    I'm a lurker so I won't leave my name, but your AABM posts are my absolute favorite.

    Thank you so much for getting these moms together to share their thoughts and ideas.

    Your blog has meant a lot to me.

  5. Carlykins said on April 9, 2010 at 8:27 pm

    In response to those interested in what happens to those children when their sibling is placed for adoption, I can only share my thoughts and experience. Hopefully it will help someone out there.

    When I found out I was pregnant my oldest had just turned 6; she was thrilled at the idea of being an older sister. She went to school and shouted it from the rooftops. I felt sick to my stomach at even having to tell her such a choice I was choosing to make. I was thinking to myself, I would rather have the Birds and the Bees talk then tell her that I was going to place her sister for adoption. Having already been a single mom for 6 yrs and knowing what it was like, really made it clear in my mind that I was going to place my second daughter for adoption. Unfortunately it also made it the most heart wrenching decision as well because I knew what it was like to have the love of a mother for my own flesh and blood. I sat down with my daughter one night and read her a childrens book on adoption and it explained how some mommies and daddies aren't able to raise their children and so another mommy and daddy raise them. I then told her that it was a lot of work to be a single mommy and that I was making the choice to place her sister for adoption. It was very difficult for her initially. I have since learned that if you as a parent make a big deal out of something and let it paralyze you , then that is how your children will most likely react to the situtation. My daughter who I placed for adoption have, what I like to consider, the most selfless mom and dad. They have called Alyson her sister from day one. They have always said that it never hurts a child to be loved by more people and why deny them of where they originally came from. The two girls have a bond that will never break, they love each other like no other. They can make each other laugh harder then any girls I have heard. All this is a result of how ,I believe, I have responded to the situation as well as how her sisters parents have responded to the situation. It has been a learning and teaching opportunity to share my testimony about the power of prayer and how I was able to follow through with the adoption plans. I never let me daughter see me sob myself to sleep at nights but I did let her see me miss her, cry and told her that I loved her too. This September will be 3 years since I have placed my second daughter for adoption. I still have my moments but they are few and far between compared to the first few months.

    Hopefully this helps a little. If there are anymore questions, ask away.


  6. I wish I had the freedom to be open about my adoption but because I placed my baby girl with my older brother and his family and they want to keep it quiet I don't have that option. I think being open about it might help my grieving process. She's almost 11 and lately I've been grieving all that I've already missed. I've only told a handful of people and I don't feel like it's enough. Maybe if I find some support on-line that would help. Also today was the first time I've ever heard of Birthmother's Day (The Sunday before Mother's Day). No one has ever given me any sort of acknowledgment for the supreme sacrifice I made and I was happy to hear that I'm not the only one who feels lost on Mother's Day. I am so happy to find some resources on-line. Thank you for your blog.

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