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#ThisIsWhatBlackMotherhoodLooksLike: Why I Gave My Child Up for Adoption

#ThisIsWhatBlackMotherhoodLooksLike: Why I Gave My Child Up for Adoption


“I can’t keep this baby.”

Beautiful spring flowers, handmade cards folded unevenly, candies and all the extra attention a mother could want on a day designed to remind them that they are special and appreciated–unless you’re a mother who at some point of her life made the agonizing decision during your pregnancy to adopt out your baby. That was my “birth-mom” did at age 19–for which I am grateful, but I never fathomed at age twenty-one, I would be making the same decision for my baby that she made for me.

We should not be shamed into a corner.

I think people rarely remember us birth moms, or think of us in a high regard. Never-mind the selfless reasons for deciding to give our children a chance at a happy life rather than bringing them into unfavorable conditions that he or she didn’t ask for. Women who have consciously chosen to carry their babies to term, to feel every kick and jolt of life in their bellies, to make their timely doctors’ appointments, and to silently experience the emotional agony that comes with the responsibility to give life in this way–we are so often forgotten.

The dark cloud of acceptance in the instances of unwarranted shame that comes with being called a, “birth mom.” Which by the way, something about that term, “birth mother/mom,” seems so dismissive to me. As if, we’re no longer mothers because we chose to allow another woman to become one. That we are only moms at birth, then the baby is whistled away into the abyss, as though it never happened. Hmmm, quite the contrary. Not to mention, the stigmas that are still attached to adoption, especially in the black community, are astounding to me. Especially when families have been unofficially raising other people’s children for centuries. But I digress.

Some might think “Well, you made your bed, so lie in it.” Yes, I made a decision to have sex with someone I was not committed to that resulted in an unplanned pregnancy. I take full personal responsibility for my actions and I believe most women who make this decision actually do. I personally wrestled for months with the weight to possibly abort. I even made an appointment at a local clinic, but when that day came, I was a no show. So I made another one, and missed that one too. I kept missing them because my soul was truly conflicted. I thought to myself, “What in the world am I going to do with another child at my age?” Was keeping her an option? Of course it was. But realistically, at that time I was just barely getting by with the toddler I already had. As an adoptee myself, I knew the power in adoption. I knew that while my life was not a perfect one, it was a different life experience than the life I was born into. Some like to say a better life. Isn’t the word, “better,” relative to one’s overall life experience?  I believe adoption is about mothers giving their babies the opportunity at a different life experience that we pray turns out for the best.

The choice to both adopt a child and “adopt-out” or “give up” a child for a family is both purposeful and intentional. From the initial decision to do so, to seeking the right agency to assist, to picking out the very next best parents to raise her baby. Going through profiles and meetings to be as comfortable as one can be with the ultimate decision to give a couple (in most cases) the opportunity to become parents.

To the point of choosing what arrangement works best for that mother and her baby – and the new family. Should it be “closed,” and no contact between the birht mom and the family after the birth? Or should it be “open” and have an agreed amount of contact that works best for both parties until the child becomes of age. In my experience, we chose an open adoption where I have contact with my daughter’s parents. I have watched her grow up doing the things she loves, like tap dancing, and excelling in academia. I’ve also watched her parents’ go through life threatening health challenges and even divorce – again, simply a different life experience than I would have provided. One I don’t regret at all for any of us involved. Every experience shapes us and has the opportunity to build our character if we allow it.

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I know my daughter will grow to do amazing things with her life as I believe she was purposed to do. Just as my first born who is now twenty and newly in the Air Force has grown be a wonderful well-rounded young woman. Life has an amazing way about it – and I’m not that young indecisive girl anymore. I continue to make self-less choices so that other women can know that they are indeed significant no matter what cards life has dealt them.

As CEO of Women Recharged, it is my mission to continue to positively impact the lives of all women both personally and professionally. I want the world to know that we (mothers) are all significant and the individual commonalties that we share are the difficult choices and sacrifices we make for our children that begins before birth. On this Mother’s Day and every year after, just whisper a silent prayer of gratitude for moms who make loving responsible choices for their children, even if that means letting someone else raise them.

Aprille Franks-Hunt

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