Editor’s note: A mother who was forced to surrender her first two children to adoption wanted to share her excruciating experience with Nunavut News, in hopes that it prevents similar occurrences. She requested anonymity. These are her words, edited for length and clarity.
I have gone through two forced adoptions: one to my parents and one to a couple who knew very well I didn’t want to give the baby away.
I was 18 years old with my first. I was not in the picture to make a decision, although the bond was always in the heart from the beginning. The pregnant woman is the first to love the unborn.
I grew up watching my mother being very submissive to my father. In my earlier relationship, I thought that is how wives were supposed to be to their husbands.
Just after I gave birth, I saw my mother and the father of my baby talking while I was still in the bed. The baby’s father started coming my way and, without even reaching to me, said: “Your mother said she can have her, so she will have her.”
Like, where was I in the decision?
To this day, it still freezes me. I was thinking: I’m here too! I was in the same room, but I was not part of the discussion. Did it matter that I was the one pregnant and gave birth to this beautiful baby? I was excluded by these people to whom I was so close. I felt that since she was my own mother, I had to listen to her and I believed that the father of the baby makes the decision because that is how things go in our culture.
It should not be assumed women will “be OK” with it, or will get over a forced adoption. We lose the bond we should have had. This hurts me the most. The children who were adopted are not attached to me because I didn’t raise them. The strong affection you would have had is gone too. This is very sad when you are forced to give away a child.
A lot of this goes on in Nunavut. I think, in my case, our tradition is that older people make the decision for younger people. The mother is an afterthought, not even asked. I think some among the older generation think the younger generation lacks feelings, or that their feelings are weak and don’t matter. At least this was me.
I heard of a elder who was forced to give her child after six months for a reason she did not understand.
A friend I went to high school with got pregnant too young. According to her story, she told me she cried, screamed and yelled, wanting to keep her baby but she was ignored. I guess older people do this, they’re thinking it is for the “betterment” of the newborn since the parents are “too young.”
However, what they could have also done was to give support for the new young parents – support in every way possible: financial, emotional, and teach healthy parenting, not “snatch it” from young parents.
Some are forced to abort when it’s not their own decision just because they are “too young.”
Yes, it is OK to adopt, but most important is approval from the one who’s pregnant.
I almost lost my third child to adoption but I decided this time I would fight for him. He became my last, and I didn’t want to give away any more children.
As I am getting older and seeing the young adult life starting for my children who were adopted out, what is healing to me is knowing they became a blessing to their adopted family. Those families would not have experienced the blessings without raising the children as one of their own. For that, there lies a special gratitude in part of me.