"My Baby, Not My Child"
February 26, 2013 9:40 AM   Subscribe

Callie Mitchell, a 25-year-old student and photographer, documented her pregnancy and decision to place her child for adoption. Photographs.
posted by lalex (15 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Jesus, that's wrenching.
posted by OmieWise at 9:48 AM on February 26, 2013 [7 favorites]

I didn't really enjoy the photographs or the "essay" but I did appreciate the opportunity to learn more about the trials and tribulations of open adoption.

As it is intended, I don't know if I would have the selflessness to consistently partake in that from the adoptive parental side, or the ability to endure the bittersweet emotional stress from the birth parent side, even with the "what's best for the child" firmly in mind.
posted by Debaser626 at 10:05 AM on February 26, 2013

I had to take a few breaks so I wouldn't embarrass myself in public. Heartbreaking, but beautiful. That kid's got a wonderful family.
posted by DoubleLune at 10:06 AM on February 26, 2013

Man I have issues. I almost never find adoption stories uplifting or inspiring. They make me rage.

I find it INFURIATING that such an intelligent, articulate, talented, educated woman who wants to raise her own baby (she said so several times) finds herself unable to do so because of a lack of societal support. This is wrong.
posted by peep at 10:15 AM on February 26, 2013 [38 favorites]

I really appreciated reading this story, and I'm glad that it seems to have worked out happily. However, I felt deeply uncomfortable that her decision to give her child up for adoption was driven by a desire to "stop fighting" with her child's father. That seems... traumatic. Although she seems comfortable with the decision, the basis for the decision seems so cruel to her.

Thank you for sharing.
posted by samthemander at 10:21 AM on February 26, 2013 [6 favorites]

Dec. 10, 2012

It’s finals week, and I can’t focus.

Luckily my finals schedule isn’t too bad. It’s nice, because last week I was not able to get anything done due to being miserably pregnant. I find it hard to care about school right now.

Five days after giving birth. In school, with two jobs, and pregnant. I can't imagine being able to handle all of this, and I hope, I really hope, that she's doing okay.
posted by jetlagaddict at 10:33 AM on February 26, 2013 [4 favorites]

Adoption stories are nearly always a mixture of beauty and tragedy.

Thanks for sharing this.
posted by BurntHombre at 10:42 AM on February 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'm not sure her intent is to portray this as a "happy ending" despite whatever peace she's been able to make of it. Yes we can accept tragedy gracefully and I guess you can call that beautiful if you need the contrast of horrific suffering in order to see the beauty of life. I think beauty can exist even without horrific suffering to counter it. I think this story would have been MORE beautiful if she had been supported in both finding the resources and support to raise her child and to become the mother she wanted her child to have. Not less.

"One of the first things people say to me after hearing my story is that I’m a strong person. I’m not strong. I’ve never been a strong person.
People who haven’t gone through this heartbreak don’t understand the helplessness you feel, the loss. "

I know.
posted by xarnop at 11:40 AM on February 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

So much of this was just gut wrenching.
posted by stoneweaver at 11:44 AM on February 26, 2013

It's the best of a bad situation, but lord, why do there have to be so many bad situations?
posted by emjaybee at 2:37 PM on February 26, 2013

I wrote a lot of stuff like this after placing. It's the best thing! It's necessary! I do think that adoption to a home with resources is better than being poor with less resources and more strife.

But it's a damn horrific social institution to deal with poverty and mothers in need. Of course it's better the children of the poor and struggling be rescued, but wouldn't it be nice if we thought the whole family mattered too?

I remember that as a mantra "It's the best thing, it's the best thing, it's the best thing." repeat over and over while you sob and wonder why the shit you have to still be alive anyway.

But I no longer think "it's the best" of a bad situation. The BEST of a bad situation would include the mothers too, not just rescuing the child. I was part of a sociology project recently in which a woman interviewed women who had placed and assessed levels of trauma/regret/satisfaction/belief the adoption was the best thing. Belief the adoption was the best thing did not seem to correlate with less trauma, meaning it's not really a panacea for the wound.

No woman deserves this wound, I don't care if she did have unprotected sex. I don't get how people who believe in women's empowerment could see this solution as "the best thing" or something women deserve for the sin of having unprotected sex. If we don't HAVE the resources to help mothers, than cool, but a large part of that is conscious choice to not provide the kinds of resources that would help women be good mothers in these situations. Because after all she had the unprotected sex and doesn't deserve them. I feel like among the left the crime of unprotected sex still carries the same exact scarlett letter unmarried sex used to. And really before condoms all unmarried sex was unprotected so I guess prior to birth control, the anti-out of wedlock shaming and hatred and outrage made sense.

I really believe you HAVE to dehumanize the mother giving birth in this situation to truly believe she doesn't deserve resources to do a good job parenting and avert this tragedy.
posted by xarnop at 4:52 PM on February 26, 2013 [8 favorites]

Oh also, the research went unpublished because "it didn't portray adoptive parent experience". And the trauma levels being off the charts isn't good publicity toward convincing more pregnant women to "do the right thing".
posted by xarnop at 4:54 PM on February 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

adopted child here, from a closed adoption state. I love my parents very much and they gave me a great, supportive home. I'm overall unhappy about it, and don't know how different I would feel if it had been an open adoption. It's absolutely clear to me that being adopted led me to eschew parenthood. Big fan of birth control.

Closed vs. open is especially interesting to me because the legacy of closed adoption in the US is one of the reasons the US cannot be a signatory to the UN CRC, which specifies that

The child shall be registered immediately after birth and shall have the right from birth to a name, the right to acquire a nationality and, as far as possible, the right to know and be cared for by his or her parents.

I've initiated a birth parent search, but the laws in most closed adoption states even after being loosened to permit me to pay someone to petition my birth parents for their PII absolutely require affirmative consent, so if my birth parents are dead, unless my representative is especially convincing with regard to my birth parents' putative siblings if any (not, please note, any putative siblings), I am up a dry creek in the desert.

so yeah: adoption. traumatic.
posted by mwhybark at 8:27 PM on February 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

Where are all the pro-lifers when this woman needed support keeping and raising her baby?
posted by Jubey at 2:22 AM on February 27, 2013

Where are all the pro-lifers when this woman needed support keeping and raising her baby?

I think to many pro-life groups, this is a triumph-- what does her mental health matter, or the pain of the last months of pregnancy? The baby lives.
posted by jetlagaddict at 4:13 AM on February 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

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