June 19, 2012

Desperation Pregnancies



Below are four scenarios based on true cases (names and locations are changed, situations altered). The four women released their children for adoption. Consider what you would do if you were in their situation.

     Julia’s fourteenth birthday occurred just two months before she gave birth to her first child. She wasn’t a bad girl, just a vulnerable teenager whose mother left her alone with a nineteen year old after they moved into his parent’s home. Nowadays, he could be charged with statuatory rape.

     This was a responsible young woman with the adult role in her family home. She knew she couldn’t keep the child, and followed through with an adoption plan.


     Gwen’s mother Ursula was in ill health. It was Ursula’s heart, Gwen was told.

     Gwen’s two children had lived with Ursula since the youngest was an infant and the oldest was a toddler. Gwen worked as a secretary in an adjacent state, living about an hour away from her parents and her children. She and her husband were divorced several years earlier.

     The children were now seven and nine. Gwen’s mother told her that she could no longer care for them. Her health was failing. Gwen must take them.

     Gwen moved to her home town, rented an apartment a block away from her parent’s home, and located a secretarial job. Within two years she found herself pregnant.

     She no longer had parental support. She had two preteens. She had a low paying job, and was barely making it financially. How could she manage a newborn in that mix?

     Furthermore, it was a small town. People were harsh. Her family was very proper, in fact, they were quite humiliated by her situation—divorce was embarrassing enough, but the presence of a newborn was downright unjustifiable.

     When her time came she told her children she had to have an appendectomy. Fortunately they never suspected she was to give birth, because her decision was to release her child for adoption.


     Florence was recently divorced. Her parents had custody of her two children while she worked several hours away from her hometown. Her mother, Priscilla, told her she was a bad parent. When Priscilla learned of her pregnancy she was furious. Her father banned her from returning to her hometown—a move to prevent humiliation for the family.

     Florence worked as a secretary—in that time, one of the few professions women had. She barely supported herself, and had little to send to her two children for their care. She rented a room from a local family. She couldn’t bring a baby home from the hospital. Feeling trapped, she made adoption plans for her coming baby


     Helen was an adult with a two-year-old daughter. She was breaking away from an abusive husband, one who had pushed her down a set of stairs during her first pregnancy. Her father had allowed other men to sexually abuse her when she was very young. She had experienced rape. Her could barely support her and her daughter, and entered a pre-adoption foster care situation. She continually reconsidered her adoption plan.

     When Helen gave birth to a son, she knew what to do. She had to protect him from herself. She had to release him for his own safety—she feared she would harm him because of her hatred for men.


Do you think these women made the correct choice? Do you think any of them should not have released their infants for adoption?

Did they agonize over their decision? Do you think they want to locate their children, to find out what happened to them, or do you think they went on with their life thinking little of their loss?


A different scenario:

A 30-year-old South Carolina mother will spend the next 35 years in prison for suffocating her two sons, then putting them in her car and staging a crash into a river after a fight with her mother over her parenting skills.

The single parent (Shaquan) was living with her mother, had no job and was depressed and upset about multiple issues at the time of the slayings… She killed them because she was depressed over failing online classes and not having a job. She also was upset the father of the boys didn’t have anything to do with them and she had just had a fight where her mother said she was a bad parent, investigators said.

Duley wishes she had someone she could have turned to that night, said (her) pastor…*


I invite you to answer the above questions or make a comment in the comment box below. What are your thoughts?



My Mother’s Secret: An Adoption Story

Oprah and I: Adoption Reunion Experiences








  1. We have become such a selfish society, putting the wants and desires of the self before the needs and interests of the child. As a retired social worker I witnessed far too many young women, out of a need to feel loved or to have some sense of control over their lives, keeping their babies. These young girls, many of them children themselves, had no support from the father(s), little in the way of social supports, minimal or no knowledge of normal child development/nutritional needs/acceptable disciplinary methods, and their only means of financial support came from their own mothers or the state. It is my belief each of the women in the various scenarios had the best interests of their children in mind by giving them up for adoption. Does this mean they didn’t agonize over their decisions, or forever wonder what happened to the children they surrendered? Any woman who has carried a baby for nine months, and given birth, never forgets. I can only imagine, as a mother myself, the unbearable pain and sense of loss each of these women must have felt, regardless of the circumstances of their pregnancies.

    I am adopted child, surrendered at birth. I do not have enough fingers and toes to count the number of times I asked about my birth mother, and the circumstances that led to my being given up. It is only normal and natural for an adoptee to raise questions. Likewise, wouldn’t it be normal and natural for a birth mother to wonder about the child she gave up? I would have concerns about any birth mother who doesn’t think about, or want to locate, the child she signed over for adoption. Is the birth mother provided an avenue to talk about the child she gave up, and the necessary emotional support to express any grief issues she is likely to experience over the years? It sure doesn’t sound like social supports would have been available to Gwen or Florence. Unfortunately, too many birth mothers are told they are to forget, to go on with life, and never again speak about the child. As far as locating the child is concerned, this presents some pretty tricky, and legal, issues. Unless there are some grave medical concerns of which the child and adoptive family need to be aware, I am of the opinion that a birth mother should wait until the child is well into adulthood. I would also suggest the use of a third party as some adoptees, for various reasons, do not wish to be found.

    Comment by Pam — June 25, 2012 @ 12:24 am | Reply

    • Pam, I appreciate the effort you put into your comment. Your suggestions are valuable.
      Carolyn Cornell Holland

      Comment by carolyncholland — June 30, 2012 @ 10:51 am | Reply

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