What are some misconceptions you think people have about birthmothers and what are some things you wish people knew about birthmothers?

AMANDA

I think the misconceptions about birth mothers range really because I think some people see it as you’re kind of just giving up. That you’re, like almost throwing in the towel and you’re not willing to go through the whole process of raising your child. I think some people view birth mothers based on what they might see on MTV or they think, you know, teen moms and they have this idea of what they are. But I think, as a birth mother, I just got myself into a situation and I had to face the consequences of my actions and I think for birth mothers it’s just a bit more involved than other things that you can do where you face consequences for it.

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I wish people would see birth mothers in that way- that we wouldn’t get this almost… people might look down upon you for the situation that you’re in and I don’t think that it’s necessarily fair. I think I was really lucky to have people around who thought that what I was doing was courageous and they were really helpful in that way. They encouraged me and they thought that my decision was brave, where some people might say negative things about that and I wish the misconceptions would kind of disappear regarding that. That people would actually see it for what it is and it’s a girl making the best choice that she can for her child.

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LEAH OUTTEN

The biggest one that bugs me the most is the thought that birthmoms are lazy or selfish. I’ve- In my experience it’s the complete opposite that I worked hard to try to parent her and to figure out how I could parent her. It just never felt right. It just felt like a war inside of me and it just never felt right no matter how hard I tried to make it work and I was willing to give up going to prom and having a date to prom or willing to give up my high school and go to like a special teenage mom school. I was willing to do those things for her. I was willing to get a job. I was willing to go get a license. I was willing to do everything I needed but it just was not what was right at that time for her and so I just want people to know that we are not giving up. We are giving them more and we are doing the best thing we know how to do for them and we are laying down our desires and being selfless so that we can provide more for them.

MAKENA LEIGH PORTER

Okay, so the big stereotype is that birthmoms do drugs and they have a lot of sex and they’re just bad people or something and they don’t care about their kids and that’s not true. I think they’re probably are some and that’s okay, that’s where the stereotype came from but these birthmoms, I know a ton of them, they’re old world woman, they have jobs, they’re doing pageants, they’re serving their community, they’re wives and mothers and they’re real good people.

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I mean, most people when they first meet me they have no idea I’m a birthmom. They think I’m just a normal high school girl that is ready for college life and career and she’s educated and when I tell them I’m a birthmom, they’re like “Oh really?” and I was like, “Yeah, I am!” Every time I tell someone else, it gives them a whole new perspective because that stereotype just dies away because of me and it’s a hard thing sometimes when people kind of pinpoint you, that you’re a birthmom, but really just owning what you did, the place, and to be selfless. Being a birthmom is an awesome thing. I love saying I’m a birthmother and that’s like the main thing that I first tell people is that I’m a birthmom when they ask who I am and why do this. Just owning it and loving it and don’t care about the negative stuff, just let that roll over.

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BRINA COLLINS

Oh, so there’s a lot of misconception out there about birthmoms and a lot of people assumed that I just didn’t want to be a parent. That I decide to place so I could go party or, I don’t know, live my life. And that’s not true. I would have loved to parent my son. I knew it wasn’t best for him and it wasn’t best for me and my situation. I did not go out partying or I don’t know, whatever else people think I do. I’m not on drugs. A lot of people ask if my son is born addictive. I don’t know, just crazy things like that. They assume that, you know, I’m irresponsible or I don’t care or the drug thing is the big one that I hear is that, “Oh, you know, this child was adopted. Was their birth parent on drugs? Did the baby get taken away?” It was none of that.

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I wish people knew how deeply birthparents care about their children and that, you know, when adoptive parents in turn to an open adoption, the people around them sometimes get kind of iffy about it because they’re like “Oh, what if she takes the baby back?” And that’s not gonna happen. It can’t happen legally and it just doesn’t happen. Lifetime movies has shown birthparents as this women who go kidnap their babies back in the night and that’s not what we do. I would never disrupt my son’s life, ever. I worked so hard to get him there and get him safe and secure that I would never just go take him back. And I’m not a danger to him. I think that gets me the most is when people assume I’m dangerous to him somehow, whether it’s physically or mentally or emotionally and I’m not. I’m not dangerous at all.

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BAILEY CORRELL

I think there’s a very common misconception that we didn’t want our children and that is completely utterly false. I would give everything to have been able [no audio]. I think that we are oftentimes portrayed as flighty, absent, shallow, basically what you think of when you think of a teenage person and then a teenage mother in a stereotype not prepared, immature, and that’s not necessarily true. Being pregnant at 17 made me grow up a lot. I had to face a lot of realities that I would have never faced otherwise. I think there’s just this misconception when we’re portrayed even in media, even on TV shows that we are negligent, we are going to abandon these children, when that is not the case.

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In most cases, doing anything and everything that we can to give them the best life possible. We are doing something that most people can’t do. It is really hard to look at the one thing in the entire universe you love more than anything else and say I love that person so much that they deserve better than me and sometimes that’s hard. That’s hard to acknowledge. It’s hard to say that your child will be better off elsewhere. It feels like you’re betraying yourself, you’re betraying your child, it can feel horrible. But in that we are willing to brave that to do those things for our children. I think that qualifies us as more than flighty and irresponsible. I’ve also seen multiple times that birthmothers are represented as drug addicts, prostitute type of people that are just very, very wild, immature and irresponsible. That’s not necessarily true either. Oftentimes, like in my case, I was a senior high school, iving my life, doing my thing and this happened. I can assure you I was not a prostitute [no audio]. Seeing those stereotypes is kind of hurtful. What I wish people knew is that we are going through so much and still managed to love our children the best way we can and I wish people understood that we are still parents. We still qualify. Mother’s day is our day too. Father’s day is our day because we do what parents do. We are doing the best thing for our child even when that means that our child deserves better than what we can give them. [no audio] we are just strong women and men that are able to make hard decision is important and realizing that we do exist. We aren’t just a mythological thing that occurs in some adoption. Some people mention that every birthparent were more than that and we deserve respect and I think we deserve the care that is equivalent to traditional parents.

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HEIDI RUSSO

Oh, my favorite question! The misconceptions a lot of people still have about birthmoms and society in general is number one, we don’t love our children and we’re giving them away. We’re giving them up. We’re choosing adoption for our own selfish desires or wants in our life. We want to go do something else and we don’t want to be a parent yet. We were reckless and that we’re promiscuous. That we’re drug addicts or uneducated or unsuccessful. A lot of those stigmas and stereotypes still exist and in my experience as a birth mom, I have seen the majority of birthmoms I know and have encountered, are the complete opposite of that.

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It is the first time they were intimate in their life or they didn’t find out they’re pregnant till later after relationship has ended and they’re very successful and have become very successful. They’re not drug addicts and promiscuous people who just have child after child and place after place. That’s not the majority of birthmoms. Am I saying that doesn’t exist? No, I’m not saying that. I’m sure there’s instances out there but that’s not your typical birthmoms. A lot of this happened from an unintended pregnancy and because you love your child so much you just want the best life for them even if at that time it means that’s not you. That’s the hardest thing to admit, is that you are not what’s best for your child at that time in your life. It’s a decision made out of love. A love that I think a lot of people really don’t understand because it’s the most unnatural thing for a woman to carry a child for 9 months and then place them in someone else’s arms to raise as their own. That’s not what women innately were meant to do and yet I think it’s an incredible thing that you can do versus alternatives. Part of that being at a place in your life when you’re not ready to parent and being the kind of parent that you’d never want to be because you’re just not ready. So I think changing those stereotypes and stigmas for birthmoms is a huge obstacle and one that I’m intent on changing.

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KELSEY QUESENBERRY

We are human. I think that is the biggest thing that I see, that they have this kind of weird idea based off of things that they’ve seen where we don’t care about the children that we placed, that we just want to move on with our lives and forget them is as easy as dropping off something at the bookstore or whatever and it’s not. A lot of people struggle and it changes your whole life. It changes everyday decisions. I wish people realize that. That we are not these heartless creatures who are just throwing babies aside so people can come rescue them.

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If we could and we have the means to, we would love to parent our children, it’s just sometimes that’s not the best option. We’re just as much as mothers as the people who are parenting our children. Amanda is Henry’s mom but so am I, just not in the same way. That’s just something that people kind of forget when they talk about birthmothers like on social media which I hate that place. It’s been really hard for me to not lash out at people because of my own experience. I remember once seeing a Facebook page about someone, like on one of those Facebook yard sale thing, how she was selling her crib because the adoption that she planned had fallen through. Then a woman came on and said, “How terrible! I hope that poor baby is okay being off with her terrible mother.” It hurt and it just stung because you know we are people too and we have feelings. Sometimes adoption is not the best option and sometimes it is. People just need to understand that we are not perfect but we are trying to better ourselves, not only just for ourselves but for our children too.

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JANEL BROWN

Misconceptions I think that people believe that birthparents don’t want their child. That’s probably the biggest. That they just don’t care and that they really don’t have feelings after the fact of placing their child. That it’s something that they should just get over, walk away from. Some things that I wish that people knew are that birthparents love their children unconditionally. It’s something that they choose for their child because they can’t fulfill what their child deserves.

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The other thing that I wish that people knew is that birthparents need help and birthparents need a support system. Sometimes just a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen to what they’re saying. If you don’t have that it’s very difficult. Birthparents also wants things that they don’t need, that people don’t realize they’re doing or don’t understand is the criticism of why they did it or why they don’t get over it. That’s the big thing.

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ANNALEECE MERRILL

A lot of people kind of assume that you would be an unfit parent whether they assumed you have a drug problem or just aren’t ready to be a parent and a lot of the time that’s the case. I would have done a really good job being a single mom and I could have done it and I could have been just fine. I could have had the support and everything that I needed to parent. But I couldn’t be a mom and a dad, I couldn’t give her a family and it just wasn’t the right time in life for me. So I think it’s important that people understand that, that they understand that we can still be successful. I’m working, I’m going to college full time and I’ve got my life pretty well together. So that’s not why I placed. I didn’t place because I would have been a bad mom at all.

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