“They told me everything I wanted to hear just so that they could have my baby.
I was a birth mother living in a violent project neighborhood in Knoxville, Tennessee. I had no car, no family (as a former foster care youth), and no support. I was a survivor of a domestic violent relationship, and a single mother. As a single mother, in my circumstances I was barely making it. Earning a living was very hard. The man who got me pregnant was my fiancé and he left after I found out about the pregnancy. Towards the end of my pregnancy, I began to feel inadequate as a mother. I was scared for my baby, and I was scared for how her life would end up. I began looking into an adoption and I wanted an open adoption. I wanted to have a good relationship with the parents, and I wanted my baby to just be happy. I met the parents and they were nice. They told me everything I wanted to hear just so that they could have my baby. But once they got the baby they changed.
They started gaslighting me. Bullying me during visits. They didn’t like it when I held my baby or when I talked at all. They were very controlling and manipulative people. But yet, they would also give me hugs and tell me that they loved me. It was a very bad and confusing experience. After a few months they started cancelling visits and ultimately those visits stopped altogether. I was getting pictures and letters for 2 years almost every month still. When those stopped too, I proceeded to find out what happened. I called them once a month for about a year. None of the calls were returned. All I needed to know was the truth. They left me hanging in the air. I felt phased out and I felt played. I felt used, and I knew I had been lied to. I knew that they never wanted me to see my baby again. I just didn’t want to believe that this was happening. I was so desperate for an explanation that I asked the adoption agency to give them my phone number and address. When they got my information, they decided to put order of protections against me instead of telling me the truth. The last court hearing I went to, their lawyer showed me a fat folder full of pictures and posts off of my Facebook page. To this day they are still stalking me.
The high for me at this point is that I got married and now I’m a stay at home mom and house wife. My lows are always with me. I remember my daughter every single day. She is always in my heart. As I think about her, I always wonder how she is doing. I wonder if she is happy. I cry for us being ripped apart, and now there is no open adoption to look forward too. All the contact is gone. I feel sorry for giving her away. I feel like I should have gotten over my fears, stuck to my guns, and tried. Now I will never know what could have been. I just hope that one day we will be able to meet again.
I have made it a personal goal to raise awareness on unethical adoption practices. I’m setting out to raise awareness on agencies that can help mothers get through their temporary crises and avoid relinquishment. I also plan on starting a handmade jewellery line so that I can make an income as a now stay at home mom and be able to donate much of the profits to charities and agencies that do help birth mothers in their times of need. Me writing a book is also a work in progress.”
(Indiana, IN, USA)
Mariam lives in Plainfield, Indiana with her family.