Forgiving My Birth Mother

     A reader discovered my blog by typing in a Google search, “How to Forgive My Birth Mother.” Google has all these analytics that show you how people arrive at your blog. When I read that, I froze for a second because I remember being there. I remember being in that stage where I needed to release that anger and sadness built up inside of me due to my birth mother abandoning me.

    I wasn’t that adoptee that had an adoption plan created. Perhaps that is what hurts the most. I was that adoptee where an ad was published in the newspaper in hopes that my birth mother would come forward and relinquish her rights as my parent for me to be placed for adoption and become adoptable.

    I don’t believe there is a word in the dictionary to describe the pain that I felt from my birth mother abandoning me, although it has gotten better as I have gotten older simply because I now have an understanding that sometimes “life” happens. And sometimes you find yourself with your back against the wall, and the only thing you feel you can do is to duck and run.
    But it still doesn’t take that sting away that flares up every so often.
    As angry and hurt as I have been for years, I still needed to know who she was. I did not want to yell or curse her out. I did not want to be angry or mad at her. I only wanted to see her face and look into her eyes.
    I will never forget looking into her eyes (with my shades on of course because I was scared as hell). I didn’t want her to look into my eyes and see my pain. I wanted her to see that I was strong without her, but my eyes would tell a different story. I knew they would. What I saw from her eyes was pain, embarrassment, anguish. What I saw was her young self in a grown woman’s body. At that moment as I walked up to her for the first time, I saw her eyes fixated on me with shame as she went back to the day she abandoned me.
    What I saw was that she made a terrible mistake years ago and she was paying for it day after day. I saw it in her eyes.
    She had yet to forgive herself.
    What was the sense of me beating her up after life has beaten her up for years? Her face said it all.
    I would never say I had a better life, but I surely had it better than her. My life is a testament of that.
    Forgiving my birth mother seemed impossible for years. Impossible! I would think of all the torment I had to endure wondering how someone that carried me full term and gave birth to me that is supposed to love me and protect me, just left me. Just like that. But what I learned over time and through talking with birth mothers is that there is always a story. You have a story. I have a story. Birth parents have stories, too. A story that is sometimes worth listening to and having compassion for before we judge.
    I don’t have the answers as to why my birth mother abandoned me, even though I am in reunion. What I do have is a heart. I have learned to extend grace and mercy to my birth mother despite what she did to me. We all fall short, just in different areas even though this is a huge area.
    I had to forgive my birth mother for myself first to have peace. I had to release that anger and pain that was taking over my life and prohibiting me from being happy, productive, confident, and successful. Secondly, as a Christian, I knew I had to do it for God. Lord, when I think of the many times He has had to forgive me. Goodness.
    If you are reading this right now and you feel hurt, angry, or betrayed by your birth mother, I encourage you to find peace by forgiving her. Do it for yourself if anything. And if you have the chance to hear her out, try to if possible. I am not a mother, but I know that it must take lots of courage and faith to place a child for adoption.
    I am in a place right now preparing myself to hear the truth even if it hurts concerning what led to my birth mother abandoning me. It may require me having to forgive her another time or 100 more times. I will do what I have to do to keep my peace because I matter. Remember, healing from adoption is a journey. It won’t happen overnight or tomorrow. The first step is letting go and allowing yourself to LIVE and LOVE past the pain.
    Have you felt the need to forgive your birth mother to move on in life? 
    Have you received an apology from your birth mother? If yes, and if you are comfortable, I welcome you to share your story in the comments. 
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    Jessenia Parmer
    Jessenia Parmer
    I'm Jessenia. I am an adult adoptee with 10 years of experience advocating and fostering relationships with adoptees, and over five years of experience teaching adoptive parents how to have a successful and genuine relationship with their adopted child.


    1. Pam says:

      I am a natural mother from the BSE, and the anguish you describe is what I've felt for 48 years. I understand your anger. What mother would deliberately abandon her child, especially if there were any way possible to raise him herself? Next to murder, it's the most unthinkable act a human being can undertake. But the story of Moses is instructive. His mother sent him away in order to save his life. The circumstances might not be as dire as this (or they might) for a mother to relinquish her child, but no mother lets her baby go willingly. (Unless she's a sociopath.) The real pain comes when you realize that the circumstances you thought were so overwhelming really weren't. If you were young and unmarried, you grew up and perhaps married and had more children. If you were in school, you finished. Had you kept your child, you might have finished later, but that child might have been the making of you. These are things I think about and why I blame myself. My son says he isn't angry with me, and I'm so grateful for that, but I couldn't blame him if he were. I wish I could forgive myself, but I haven't yet found the way. I knuckled under to pressure from parents, social worker, and doctor. I wanted to be a "good girl" and "do the right thing." I made a huge mistake. I hope other women with unplanned pregnancies won't make the same one.

      • Hi Pam, thank you for being so transparent and sharing your story with me and anyone else that may read this. I totally agree with you, I don't think there is any mother on Earth that willing wanted to place her child for adoption. I can't even imagine. I always say, if only there were more people advocating for birth mothers and showing and encouraging them that they CAN be parents. Instead, we have many people preying on young and vulnerable women for gain. It is so sad :(. I am glad to hear that you and your son are in a good place and he is not angry. That is really good. I pray you can forgive yourself. We must let go of our past and forgives ourselves. It is the only way to experience true joy and peace. Your son loving you and wanting you to be a part of his life is amazing. Praying for you <3

      • My new book called "Separated Lives" is a true story about the adoption of a baby boy and years later a friend taking him on a fascinating but uncertain journey to search for his birth parents. It is available from Dorrance Publishing (in Pittsburgh, PA), Barnes & Noble and
        Author: Lynn Assimacopoulos

    2. Cold Ethel says:

      So how do you forgive your adoptive mother for wishing she never adopted you and going through life feeling like a worthless piece of garbage? I'm done with therapy because no one understands or believes it.

      • Hi Ethel, thank you for reaching out. I am sorry to hear that you and your adoptive mother are not in a good place, and I am truly sorry to hear that she said that about you. That was a very low blow that you didnt deserve! I need you to know that you are NOT a worthless piece of garbage. You are worthy of love! You are worthy of happiness! You are worthy of success! Don't let what anyone (including family) dictate your life. Therapy is a good option if you can find a therapist that specializes in adoptee trauma. Please never stop loving yourself, and don't beat yourself up. It is your adoptive mother's loss if she doesn't want you in her life. You are a gift to anyone that meets you. I am willing to bet you are a strong and beautiful person <3

    3. Leah Devlin says:

      I adopted my daughter in July. It wasn't because I didn't want her or that I don't love her, actually it is quite the opposite. I love her so much I chose a better life for her than what I could provide. I did plan everything from day one, and still see her regularly. I am aunty to her, and her parents are the most wonderful people God could have given her. I miss her everyday and wonder what things would be like if I hadn't chosen adoption, but I also know that this was the path that was chosen and that she will be loved by two families. I want her to grow up and have everything that I can't give to her, I want to see her so happy it hurts. And I hope that she never feels as though I don't care or that she was unwanted. Her parents tried to have a child for 14 years, and I knew that she was meant to be their child. She looks into her mommy a eyes and she lights up. I could never take that gift from her. I am sure that your mom loves you and wanted to do what she thought was the best for you. I know that people will pass judgement on me for this but it doesn't matter. I did what I thought would be the best thing for her. If I wanted to be selfish I would have kept her with me and loved her with my entire soul everyday of my life. I do love her with everything in me, and I know that if she ever reached out I would do anything for her… I would give my life for that beautiful little girl. That is why I had to make the hardest choice of my entire life, and I know that one day there will be many questions, and I will answer them all. I will tell her every time I see her how loved she is. I hope this can give you a better picture of the inside of the birth mother that gave her child up for adoption because I chose life, and purpose, and love. I would never do something to hurt my child, and I hope that abandonment would be the last thing that she thinks when she thinks of me. Thank you for this reading. I hope you find fulfillment in your life with your mother, and birth mother.

    4. Anonymous says:

      My birth mother was in her 30s when she had me. She already had five children. She passed away before we were able to meet although we were able to communicate with each via Facebook, telephone and email. I never did learn why she gave me up for adoption. She told me three different stories before she died. I have always felt like I was the one who wasn't good enough to keep.

    5. I have recently discovered my birth mother. She was a scholar at the time and felt she could not give me the life she felt i deserved. In turn she ended up marrying her high school sweatheart and i have two gorgeous brothers. I have been on cloud nine ever since, i am one of the main characters in a absolutely beautiful fairy tale. My only regret is that i didnt try harder earlier. Like in every fairy tale there is always a evil spell, in my case it's called cancer. My birthmother has stage 3 breast cancer and i fear our time is limited… one can only pray and have faith as faith is stronger than fear….

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