Does this creep you out as much as it does me: Embracing the Birthmother: a day run by birthmothers for birthmothers to talk with each other, share stories, healing and empowerment.

It’s being thrown by A Full Circle Adoptions in Mt. Holyoake, Massachusetts. I don’t know anything about this doo or the agency other than what’s found on the linked page.

But the language…Mama Mia!

Let’s see how many ways we can depersonalize, dehumanize, patronize, paternalize, infantilize and deminunize women in the name of empowerment and do-goodism. How long for the days when the adoption industry just said don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out instead self-serving “post-adoption services.”

I have this squicky image of “birth mother” attachment therapy. Grown women entangled in the arms of social workers; wrapped up in a flannel blanket and sat on by overweight female therapists imported from Colorado.

Colorado Attachment Disorder sitters Connell Watkins and Julie Ponder


  1. Yuksome in the extreme. You and others have totally raised my consciousness around this term. Recently, I saw it used when referring to the mother of kids who had to be at least aged four when removed. So what’s the attraction for people running/going to this kind of thing? I would like to know.

  2. It is sickening that child murderer Connell Watkins was released early from her mandatory minimum sentence of 16 years in prison:


    She has never repented publicly for killing Candace.

    The “squick” factor is definitely omnipresent in attachment therapy.
    To use another example: how in hell is it legal for large, grown men to “hold” little children while lying on top of them and licking their faces?

  3. The only embraces I want are from my husband, children (raised and reunited) and loved ones. The industry and adopters can keep their f******, insincere, manipulative embraces to themselves. I am sick and tired, to my bones, of this kind of malarky!

  4. WOW. I know this agency. One of my closest friends lost her first born son to them. I would love to share this with her but I fear she would find it highly triggering.

  5. Osolomanna–I’m not really picky on language and I use birth mother, first mother, etc interchangeably, but I know the term is really hated by some. I also know some moms who loveo it. You can’t win. Whatever, it is clearly and continuely misused and co-opted.

    I have no idea why anyone would attend such a gathering. I certainly understand a peer facilitated support/search group, joining CUB, OUSA, SMAAC, BN, etc, but why anyone would attend a “support” session run by an agency is lost on me. I supposed if you lived someplace 100 miles from anywhere and it were offered nearby I’d I’d understand it more, but not this.

    As for those who run them, I suppose they feel due to reform, that they have a mandate to continue to muck around in other people’s lives. It probably makes them feel good about themselves I don’t think women should be ignored by agencies if agencies are needed for some reason but women shouldn’t be expected to participate in agency exploitation either. I think it’s like white guilt.

    The thing that really bugged me about this, and I was i a hurry and didn’t include it in my blog was the use of the word “the.” That really set me off. “Embracing the Birth Mother.”

    “The” is used as a cultural separator, a deroggatory collectivist snipe.

    If you saw somebody put out a call that said, “Embracing the Jew” or “Embracing the Gays” or “Embracing the Porn Star” I think it would a be nasty, holier-than-thou political statement. How about “Embracing the Birth Father”? That gives it an entirely different meaning. Sort of like a horny social worker pulling “the birth father” into bed.

    My boyfriend, who IS a language wonk, says I made too much of this but I don’t think so. He was, however, put off by the concept of the event.

  6. To give them a little credit, further into their page they refer to those who have not yet surrendered as “expectant parents”, not “birthparents”.

    And Marley, the use of “the” slid right by me, but then I don’t mind the word “birthmother” either. I prefer it to “first mother” and the odious “mother of loss”. I consider it the same as “natural mother”. But that is me, whose consciousness remains as unraised as a matzoh when it comes to politically correct words!:-)

    While I do not wish to be embraced by social workers either,(unless they are male and look like Pierce Brosnan:-)I would reserve judgment on this event until I knew more. It might indeed be a puke fest. Or it could be like the Birthmother’s Day event sponsored every year by Spence Chapin in NYC but put together entirely by birthmothers themselves. The agency just foots the bill for a nice dinner and program.

    I have attended a lot of these and have found them pleasant, respectful, sometimes moving, and in no way offensive. Carol Schaefer is always involved in this event, as is Lynn Franklin, Lisa Venezia, other women I respect and admire. It is NOT an agency bullshit session in any way, and plenty of anger and pain are always expressed, along with reunion and hope for some.Nobody is censored or told how to feel.

    Also, some agencies actually offer decent post reunion counseling to adoptees and birthparents. Children’s Aid of NJ comes to mind, where adoptee Betsy Forrest worked for many years as a counselor. Some people do better with one to one professional counseling, especially those who need more help than a peer support group can offer.

    Social workers and old agencies are not all the enemy,nor are all of them still where they were 40 years ago when we surrendered. How about social workers like Annette Baran, who admit that past practices were wrong and apologize?

    Some agencies are still bullshit, but some do offer decent services. Each one needs to be evaluated on its own merit.

  7. Oh that madness out of Colorado (my home state) still has a horrific effect on me. I get extremely pissed off every time I think of what they did to Candace.

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