Dear Expectant Moms considering adoption (aka Birthmothers)

08 Aug

I don’t know how many adoptees have found once they receive their Original Birth Certificate (OBC) that their mother didn’t name them.  I know there are many of us out there, hoping against hope our OBC will show we were named.  Instead, for many of us we are Baby Girl and our mother’s surname, Baby Boy, Unnamed Infant, whatever choice of words the officials decided to use at the time.  Each time I take part in (or read) conversations about that happening to yet another adoptee, I silently scream the following.

Not being named by your mother is dehumanizing.

Not being named by your mother means you weren’t worth naming.

Not being named by your mother means you meant nothing to them.

Now, I realize the newest trend in adoption is naming together with the people you’ve chosen to parent your child, in whatever way you all decide to do it.  That’s fine, your prerogative there.  But from this adoptee, please, please name your baby on their OBC, whether you include in name the name you got to pick for their Amended Birth Certificate (ABC) as well as your own pick for first (or middle) and your surname.  Show them they mattered to you before you signed away your rights as their mother on the very first document of their life.

It means you claim your child as your own.

It means your child is worthy and wanted by you, even if it isn’t possible to parent your child.

It means you see your child, really see your child as yours, not just a child you birthed for another.

And while I’m at it, what’s up with this other new trend of calling us your birth child?  When I hear you add in that (birth) disclaimer/qualifier, it brings all the same feelings out in me as the above not naming does.  Unwanted, unclaimed, unworthy of just being your child.





Posted by on August 8, 2017 in Adoption, adoptive parents


Tags: , , , , , , ,

29 responses to “Dear Expectant Moms considering adoption (aka Birthmothers)

  1. flrpwll

    August 8, 2017 at 10:09 pm

    I wasn’t named on the birth certificate, but I was definitely named. My name was Heidi, but the authorities weren’t interested in knowing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TAO

      August 8, 2017 at 10:51 pm

      I know that was common when we were born – but adoptees from this current generation shouldn’t (fingers crossed) have that happen to them.


  2. Cindy

    August 8, 2017 at 11:19 pm

    TAO, It’s part of the system. Part of the programming. Birth child disgusts me as much as birth mother. Birth mother is nothing but a knife used to cut and divide mother and child… same with birth child. I personally want it stopped. Mother and child are mother and child. It’s funny how seldom, if ever, you hear other family members called by the birth prefix. I can read blogs or newspaper articles and they use the term birth mother and then go merrily along and say father referring to the biological one, no birth prefix added. Sadly the “positive” adoption language folks are trying to press those into greater use as well. I think that is whut’s up.

    I feel that when adoptees call their mothers BM or birth mother it feeds the monster as does so many mothers calling themselves that very term, often to ‘keep the peace’ and keep themselves in their child’s life.Try being a mother and refer to yourself as that around an adoptive parent without the birth term. Yikes! Some are ok with it but some /many? come entirely unglued. So do some adoptees.

    The no name on the original birth certificate is so hard. I suspect too often others intervened and shamed the mother so much she felt she had no right to name, or did name the child and the name was not placed on the certificate.

    It was something I was thankful they (hospital ‘butcher’ crew/ss workers) allowed me to do. Saying that they allowed me just made me realize, if no one had asked what I wanted to name him, he probably would have been baby ______ on his birth certificate. By the time I gave birth and being drugged to unconsciousness before and after, along with all the other horror pretty much left me utterly ‘helpless’ and feeling I had no right to him or anything concerning him, ever. Thankfully he has a different point of view.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Pauline Trumpi Evans

      October 28, 2018 at 3:47 am

      Cindy, thank you for speaking out about the label we were assigned. Early on, during the rise of the adoption reform movement, we first mothers accepted the label of birthmother because we thought we had to, in order to be heard. We were willing to accept what ever crumbs were thrown our way because we had been totally disempowered during the adoption process. It will take awhile for first mother to be more commonly used. The more we use our true name on websites, the more it will be picked up by search engines.

      As for the name on the birth certificate, I was allowed to name him. My name is Pauline, so I called him Paul David. During the 20 plus years we were separated by adoption, my thoughts were about my baby PAUL DAVID. A name is a real connection! However, no part of his name was retained by his adoptive parents. As a first mother, I was annihilated by adoption.

      I wanted the inseminator to be listed on the birth certificate but my social worker said: “We don’t put that on there.” Years later, I learned that someone named “Unknown” was the father of all babies at Catholic Charites! Adoption was built on deception.


  3. Pj

    August 9, 2017 at 12:41 am

    Tao, thank you so much for this post. It was such a light bulb moment that brought me more peace on this never-ending journey.I (naively) just took it for granted that I was named on my OBC, although my hospital discharge notes referred to me as “twin A”. My birth mother (sorry, Cindy but that’s my comfort name and I’ve honestly never had a single negative thought about her.) supposedly named me after the man she loved and believed to be my father. She was supposedly an eccentric who had difficulty forming relationships, and raising children, but she named me….and that means so much. Thanks again, Tao 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • TAO

      August 9, 2017 at 3:28 am

      Being named – I’m glad you were.


  4. Heather

    August 9, 2017 at 3:13 am

    I wanted to name my son. I didn’t know I could have.


    • TAO

      August 9, 2017 at 3:26 am

      I am so sorry – that was so wrong.


  5. beth62

    August 9, 2017 at 3:40 am

    I was very happy to know my mother named me. Very happy that my Dad peeked and kept/remembered my name so he could tell me when I got older. I really like it that he had that foresight, and respect for me.

    I was upset that my mother, when I found her, had forgotten my name. But very understanding and forgiving that she had, still stung a bit. Wasn’t real happy that she wasn’t so happy with the name, after I told her what it was, and was glad it was changed to a better one. Still glad she named me 🙂 I liked it just fine.

    Hint 1. a.
    Remember the name 🙂 Someone might come around one day asking if you do 🙂

    Since you mentioned it TAO, I think I’d be quite happy with the same name, chosen by all, on my OBC and ABC. I imagine I’d be pretty happy about that, I’m sure I could probably find a reason not to like it so much too 🙂 Haven’t thought on it long to figure out why.

    I got in an “argument” with a family member, an Adopted mom, recently.
    We were talking about her kids, and I would say mother without a prefix when talking about the kids mother. She got aggravated. I pointed out since I was talking to her it wasn’t necessary to distinguish with a prefix. She knew I wasn’t talking about her. She began to insist, but knows me to well LOL still doesn’t like it, but I insisted it was good for her to do it my way, she’d be alright, eventually. This is an easy win for me LOL She already knows she’ll be a butthead if she stays stubborn on this one, haha She still doesn’t like it and that’s okay. I still love her.

    I’ve raised two kids that originated in my body, and many that didn’t. I’ve never adopted. It’s a struggle for me, us, to find the right way to “prefix” someone when it’s needed for clarity sometimes. As adults we’ve agreed not to get upset if any of us do it “wrong” or awkwardly. It’s easy between me and them directly, but explaining the connections to others is often just hard, gives that yucky feeling. May be the truth, but it doesn’t always feel so true, mostly awkward and yucky.

    It gets even harder when they grow up and start having kids of their own. Another opportunity for the differences to be noticed, pointed out.
    I can’t imagine not accepting the differences. Makes me sad to think about trying to cover all that up.

    Liked by 2 people

    • TAO

      August 9, 2017 at 1:08 pm

      I’d imagine other adoptees would be fine with the dual naming thing – but would you be fine if you weren’t given your mother’s surname either?


      • beth62

        August 9, 2017 at 2:34 pm

        I would not. Not at all. It wouldn’t be true. Thanks TAO. See, it didn’t take long at all to find that, not even 24 hours!

        Liked by 2 people

    • beth62

      August 11, 2017 at 2:23 pm

      “I was very happy to know my mother named me. Very happy that my Dad peeked and kept/remembered my name so he could tell me when I got older. I really like it that he had that foresight, and respect for me.”

      Just noticed that last sentence and wanted to edit.
      They. I really like it that they had that foresight and respect for me.

      And I know they did. Those moments, those actions, those feelings they had to have had, always felt real to me. I felt the respect.


  6. everyoneactdead

    August 10, 2017 at 5:43 pm

    I was discouraged from naming my child (because it would be changed) but I did give him a name that was very meaningful to me. His birth name became his middle name, which I suppose I should be grateful for, but I was incredibly hurt by the name change.

    I hope someday he understands I did see him as mine.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Snarkurchin

    August 10, 2017 at 8:54 pm

    It would mean so much to me to know I had been named. But I wasn’t. My mother said she didn’t want to name me. Not that she didn’t know she could, not that she was told not to, but that she didn’t want to. I even asked if she had given me a secret name she told no one about. No. Maybe it would have made it harder to give me up, I don’t know. I do know it hurt to learn I wasn’t named.


    • TAO

      August 10, 2017 at 9:29 pm

      Many hugs Snarkurchin – that sucks.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. L4R

    August 11, 2017 at 2:56 am

    Liked by 2 people

    • TAO

      August 11, 2017 at 3:05 am

      Yes, yes, yes L4R – this is so powerful.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Kat

    August 11, 2017 at 1:04 pm

    I was gutted to see that blank on my OBC. The fact that the name I now carry was determined by the adoption agency as part of procedure is salt in the wound.
    According to bDad they called me “it” while bMom was pregnant and “her/she” after I was born. There is no indication that she named me unoffically. I truly hate it. It is a big point of pain.


    • TAO

      August 11, 2017 at 1:35 pm

      I’m sorry Kat.


  10. changeling

    August 19, 2017 at 4:25 am

    TAO, I have been reading your blog for some time, but have never commented until now. I am an adult adoptee from a state that will not allow us to get OBC’s until a year from now. I have seen my adoption paper which lists my birth father as unknown and refers to me as Infant (Surname). I have tried to rationalize why I, a 60 year old woman, am so hurt and disappointed by the fact that my mother didn’t give me a name. But there it is…

    I have never seen this issue raised on any of the adoptee blogs I read, and you couldn’t have said it better. Yes, I do feel my mother didn’t think enough of me to name me. I am not expecting a name on my OBC either. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, you are a shining light in helping to educate people about adoption issues. Thank you also for listening.


    • TAO

      August 19, 2017 at 1:51 pm

      Welcome changeling and thank you for your encouragement and support for this blog. I means a lot.


    • BOOKS

      November 25, 2018 at 4:22 am

      I don’t think most people realize how disempowered we first mothers felt. Part of that disempowerment feeling was that we didn’t even have the right to name our child. I felt that all the power rested with the adoption agency. There was no one — I mean NO one — to speak for the rights of a woman giving birth to her child. There was no compassion. There was no suggestion that maybe one would like to speak with a counselor about one’s FEELINGS! With such a monumental, life-changing event, surely one would need encouragement to talk about the pregnancy and one’s internal dialogue. What were significant others telling her? (And yes, there were a lot of feelings kept inside!) There was no exploration of the myriad ways in which surrender of one’s child impacts a mother’s life and the lives of many others. However, we relied on those we thought were wiser (and older) than we were. Perhaps many social workers were trained to believe they were saviors? I do remember how important it seemed for the social worker to get my signature. Job done, end of story. Even when I called the agency after surrender, she said, “Well, you’ll just have to work it through.” Work it through? Easy for you to say, single woman who never had a baby. I wonder how many times she told a woman: You just have to work it through.


  11. cb

    August 21, 2017 at 9:56 pm

    I’m in a sort of weird position because I have a name on my OBC but don’t know who named me. Apparently, the nurses from the adoption agency’s hospital sometimes named the child. Also, who registered the births back then? Was it the bmother or the agency? I would have no idea if my bmother even saw me let alone knew I was a girl. She died many decades ago so it is something I’ll never know the answer to. I was born while she was overseas in NZ on a working holiday and it may be a case of “what happened in NZ stayed in NZ”, who knows (I’m not saying that is really the case because some later things make me feel she was affected by the adoption).

    I also had twin siblings that died at birth (I believe she was planning to raise them by all accounts), they were premature and were born/died on a Friday and buried on the following Monday and they do have names but again, I don’t know who named them. My feeling is that my grandmother named them – their names are derivatives of both my bmom’s name and grandmother’s name, i.e. it seemed a bit of a case of thinking on one’s feet.

    Ah, it’s so much fun not knowing the answers to questions. Sigh.


    • Pauline Trumpi Evans

      October 28, 2018 at 4:01 am

      cb, I feel sad for your first mother, losing three children. The truism, life is not fair, certainly applied in her case. I wonder how she coped with the losses.


  12. In Kim's Words

    February 4, 2018 at 12:56 am

    I named my daughter the name her adoptive parents chose, despite having a name for her prior to deciding on adoption. I carefully considered which name to give her at birth and ultimately put “their name” on her records because I was afraid that when she found out she had another name later in life, she might have identity issues and further grief. I was adopted, but my name wasn’t changed (except my last name), and I’ve heard from other adoptees that it’s traumatic to find out they had a name that was taken away from them when they were adopted. Despite giving her a full name on her records at birth, the legal adoption notice they put in the paper called her “Baby Girl Riddle”, and seeing that notice broke my heart (and made me question the legality of the adoption). I hope to see my daughter again one day, and I hope that the name choice I made for her was the right one for her….

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Snarkurchin

    May 3, 2018 at 1:04 pm

    Off topic: TAO, I’d love to put that poem video on my blog’s FB page. Would it be all right to say I found it here and link to your blog?

    On topic: My foster parents, who only had me in their home for a month, did name me. My APs incorporated that “baby name” into my middle name.


    • TAO

      May 3, 2018 at 1:16 pm

      Snarkurchin – you are welcome to do it either way – your call.

      I think incorporating your foster name very sweet and recognition of that part of your story.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Tara-Anita Brown

    September 3, 2020 at 6:16 pm

    Hello TAO, I’ve read and commented on your blog a few years ago and fell off from reading because dealing with adoption issues as an adoptee is really alot to handle emotionally and psychologically. I have known my first name to be Tara-Anita. I never knew my birth mother named me and that I had a name before I was adopted until one day around maybe 7-9 years old my adopted grandmother told me whenever I write my name always use Anita along with Tara because thats the name I was born with. My adopted mother never told me this. I am forever grateful to my adopted grandmother for taking upon herself to tell me. Years later I believe when I was already married my adopted mother gave me all of my adoption records, post birth certificate etc. Thats when I found out my original last name. When I speak to a couple family members it just seemed like my adoption was such a big secret and I just came out of nowhere. Adopted mothers I find while they do love you, they want to hold you toooo tight and suffocate you, always wanting whats best for them, their needs instead of whats best for the adopted child and their innate needs. I always say that the society and adopted parents are ignorant, some willfully so, due to the fact that they dont know what adoptees go through, so I am glad there are adoption sites such as this that bring all these issues to light that also inform the adoptees and help us to identify and what is going on psychologically and helps us to connect and validate what we are feeling and the emotional turmoil of restlessness felt for years maybe a lifetime.

    Liked by 2 people


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