Birth Moms: The Unsung Heroes

birth moms

Close your eyes. Envision yourself grabbing your phone, turning to social media and as you scroll you see a post announcing,

“We’re adopting!”

What and who do you see? What emotions do you feel, and what comes to your mind? 

Maybe you’re thinking about the happiness of a child finding a “forever home,” or the loving couple finally able to step into parenthood and grow their family. The child and adoptive parents are often the ones being celebrated.

But have you ever thought about the birth mom when you see those posts? The expectant mother making a brave decision for her child? Do we even think of her at all?

And if we do, often outdated stigmas and language such as giving up, putting up, and giving away can lead to a negative narrative for birth parents. As a result, the child may feel these negative effects once able to fully understand their adoption story. 

Changing the Narrative for Birth Moms

Today I want to shine the light on the brave, loving, and intentional choices made by the often forgotten heroes of adoption: the birth moms. 

It isn’t easy to find the words to convey my respect for the love and courage each birth mom shows in considering adoption for their child. I don’t know the hardships they may have faced or the emotions felt making difficult and life-changing decisions. But I do admire their courage, think of them often, and pray for them always. 

We adopted a child, and adoption is one of the most selfless acts of true love that I’ve ever witnessed. Watching the strength and courage our son’s birth mom provided to him was an incredibly moving experience.

What we need from society is to support and appreciate birth moms as well.

And there are ways you can help change the stigma in outdated language through adoption.

Things Not to Say

Common phrases to avoid for birth moms/parents:

  1. Instead of “Give up,” sayTerminate parental rights.”
  2. Rather than “Give away,” say “Make an adoption plan.” 
  3. Instead of “Real parent,” say “Birth parent” or “biological parent.”

Common phrases to avoid for adoptive parents:

  1. “It is so wonderful you have adopted a child in need!”
  2. “Your son/daughter looks like he could be yours!”
  3. “I could not raise someone else’s child!”

We can’t expect the perception of birth moms and adoption to change in the blink of an eye, but changing the way we speak of adoption is one step towards true heart change. My hope is that each and every one of us can be a positive part of that shift toward birth moms and recognizing the beautiful gift of adoption. 

The next time you see that, “We’re adopting!” post on social media, think of the birth mom. Think of the bravery and selfless love that is very much a part of adoption.

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Karli is a West Fargo native and lives here with her husband Taylor, and two sweet boys Dawson and Simon. Her family loves all things outdoors, sports, and music. If you live in the neighborhood the noise you may be hearing is likely from the dance parties in their kitchen. The over the top music may often be accompanied by, but not limited to, strobe lights, loud singing and quite possibly glow sticks. Although most days are full of music, laughter, sports and fun, the road to motherhood wasn't the simplest of journeys for her. Karli and her husband battled infertility for multiple years and about a year after she had her first son, life took a hard left. In October of 2017 Karli was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis, which became quite severe very quickly and resulted in 3 surgeries which saved her life. Soon after coming out the other side of this disease she discovered her new found perspective, direction, and purpose in life. After a 10+ year career in Corporate America, always feeling like she was chasing the next role, Karli decided to join the non-profit world where she was actively volunteering as a mentor and became the Director of Mission Development for BIO Girls. Karli is a member of the Power of 100, FarGo Givers, Creator of North Dakota Adoption Support Group, and an advocate for those dealing with infertility, adoption, and chronic illness. Read more about Karli HERE.


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