June 21

A Birth Mother’s Account of Adoption

When I was a teenager I became close to a foster family. Weekly, I would spend time with the kids. I got to know them and their stories. For their own safety the vast majority of them were removed from their parents and placed in the system. I watched them get adopted. Some were success stories and some were not.

This is a different kind of story, it’s another side of the story and one that I never contemplated. You hear about people who want to adopt, you know people who have been adopted but the stories of those who give birth never seem to get told.

Jessie Chivington’s name and email address was given to me. I was told that she wanted to share her adoption story. I assumed she had adopted a child or was herself adopted, for some reason the idea that she could be a birth mother never entered my mind. I had never heard a birth mother’s story before.

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You see, in 2009 she was a twenty-one year old woman, a student at New College, who found herself faced with an unexpected but wanted pregnancy.

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“I remember telling just about everyone…but I remembered my college acquaintances were pretty unexcited/joyless about it all. I got a lot of negative responses. Most people wanted to know if I was going to –keep– it- I can assure you I had not planned on an abortion, and probably will never plan on one.”

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 “I was walking today remembering that moment, the ultrasound technician sneered at me when I told her that yes, I wanted pictures of the fetus.”

 She prepared for the birth, purchasing a car seat, Onesies, nighties, hat, blankets galore, a layette, a crib, a car, a swing, and a sling.

In our communication she had to take breaks expressing an “absolute sadness” and that she was “unmotivated…to share the deep, deep everlasting cherishing hope I held out that i would be a mama to a little boy.”

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“Finally, I had a car-crash around the nine-month mark. I also got really, really tired and adoption seemed like the only option..it was a permanent solution to a temporary problem.”

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“The adoptive parents have cut off all contact, except when I find them, which isn’t often. So I have done the same in the name of self preservation. I signed off all my rights to them, naively thinking that would be good and that they would stay true to their verbal agreement to stay in touch but this didn’t happen.”

“His adoptive parents changed his whole name, didn’t even use the name we had talked about using.”

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When asked what she would share with other women in the same situation she responded, “I would say hope is my mail message, because I think at the end there is an intelligent, sentient One orchestrating our lives. Trust your instinct.”

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It takes a strong woman to share her story. I’m sure there’s another woman out there who needs to hear this, to not feel alone, who needs the community and encouragement

Jessie is honest and courageous, she was confused, she was misunderstood, she was conflicted, she was under pressure, she is a Renaissance Woman.

Do you feel that birth mother’s have a voice in our society?

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Jessie (Jack) Chivington is a graduate of New College. She currently lives in Switzerland where she studies French.