Birth Moms Today

From time to time I find myself trying out new “Birthmom” groups on Facebook.  One would think that all of these groups are pretty much the same but, in actuality, there are differences from group to group.  Some focus on the traumatizing effects the members have endured, others focus on the happy parts of adoption, and still others are a mingle of both.  In a few groups birthmoms, adoptive parents, and adoptees are welcome.  I tend to stay mostly in my “birthmothers ONLY” group for the safety of being able to express myself without hurting feelings or feeling judged.  Also, I don’t want to offend or hurt any other person who is not a birthmother when I’m having a bad day.  Recently, a fellow admin from my main group brought to our attention an expectant mother from a different, much smaller, group who was planning on placing her baby for adoption. A few of us requested to join this other group in hopes that we may be able to help her parent her child.  Often it is really only a little thing, that we can help with, that can make or break a decision such as adoption.  Mom needs baby items because she has no money?  We got that.  Mom needs someone to support her emotionally?  We got that.  Mom needs someone to help babysit while she works?  We deploy the BeeMom troops.  Mom needs housing?  Our resources are vast. We do this because NO mom wants to give their baby up just because.  It is almost always for reasons like these.

In this mom’s particular case, she seemed extremely relieved that we found her and offered her support.  She was, initially, apprehensive about telling her social worker and the family she had tentatively chosen that she had changed her mind and wanted to parent.  We helped her through this, though.  Once she announced, on her Facebook page, that she was planning to parent the outpouring of support from her family and friends was tremendous.  It turns out that, so far, she hasn’t needed much from us at all.  Many times family and friends, especially those not familiar with adoption, want to be supportive of a decision made by an expectant mother.  When a mom tells those close to her that she has decided to make an adoption plan for her baby, even if they don’t think she should, they won’t say anything but supportive things….support of the adoption. They are scared they will make it harder for her, they are scared she will get mad at them, they are scared they are wrong to tell her to parent. Most times all it takes is a few people to tell this mother that she is good enough and capable enough to parent her child.  This new mom gathered, in a matter of days, every essential item she needed to parent her baby from the tremendous love of those in her life. And more importantly, support. What made us happiest was seeing how relieved and grateful this new mom was. She didn’t really want to give her baby away.  We enabled her to not have to do that.  So, where did we find this mom?

We found her in a group ran by Kim Noeth called Birth Moms Today. Birth Moms Today, the private Facebook group, is an extension of the website Birth moms Today.  The group is fairly small at just under 60 members as I write this. Upon entering this group and sharing my story and experiences Kim posted a few vague references to not using our stories to sway women from their choice of adoption.  I’m almost positive these were passively directed at myself and fellow cohorts from our much larger group.

Example 1

Example 1

From the looks of this post you would think that we were being rude, disrespectful bullies trying to pressure women into parenting kids they didn’t want to. I would have taken screen shots of our posts, but we have all been kicked out of the group as of right now.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  We were happy and supportive to the women in there with happy adoption stories. We did, however, speak OUR truths as we know them.  We didn’t try to tell someone what to do with their life but felt it was important for an expectant mother considering adoption to be informed of all of the facts, not just the happy ones. Several women in there are under the impression that no matter what their open adoption contracts are legally binding.  Even in states where this is true, all it takes is an adoptive parent to claim it is not psychologically beneficial to the child to have it thrown out.  Fighting it is hard, that’s if you can raise the thousands of dollars needed to begin that process.  I have never heard of a story where a birthmom has fought and won to enforce her open adoption.  We also wanted women in there to know that your feelings may change 10, 20, 30 years down the road.  My feelings on adoption are not rigid.  They are ever-changing and morphing.  The message I got from Kim Noeth was to sit down, shut up and stop telling these women they don’t have to give their babies up. Stop “scaring” them with your stories. But in her “life coach” passive aggressive “I’m pretend being respectful of your story” way. I’m sorry, Kim, but our stories should scare them.  If they are going to make such a huge decision then it should be the most informed decision they have.  Someone had commented, in a thread, that our stories were making them uncomfortable and not feeling like they were in a safe place to talk.  Kim responded by affirming these uncomfortable feelings as something bad and thanking the poster for being brave enough to point it.  Wait, a life coach fueling uncomfortable feelings in someone she is supposed to be helping?  Shouldn’t the proper response (the response that I gave, by the way), have been, “May I ask what makes you uncomfortable about what happened to them and what they are saying? Let’s explore that a little.”

Let me back track, I lied earlier.  I wasn’t kicked out of the group.  My 2 cohorts were the day after I left. I posted something along the lines of being silenced by myself and those around me for too long and I will not be silenced here.  I begged the girls there to allow themselves to feel their emotions and pain so they could properly deal with it and told them they were welcome to join our REAL birthmother group if they wanted.  And then I left. 3 of the members did request to join after I left.  One of them even has a very happy adoption story but she wanted to learn about ALL aspects of adoption and ALL possible outcomes so she could be prepared for that in the future.  How awesome is that?  My “exit post” was somehow missed by Kim until this morning.  Only 3 comments were on there until Kim piped in. None of them were confrontational.  Just asking if they could join our other group and a response from one of my cohorts.  As soon as Kim chimed in all hell broke loose.  Remember, Kim is the great life-changing, healing life coach.  Not the instigator.  We were the instigators.  After this it was almost impossible for one of my cohorts to keep her mouth shut.  She was passive aggressively attacked and triggered and let loose the beast. The other cohort wasn’t involved in any of this but she was booted and blocked from the group as well.  Guilt by association I assume.

The only 3 comments that sat all evening and overnight, and then Kim's comment.

The only 3 comments that sat all evening and overnight, and then Kim’s comment.

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cs2

cs3

Kim keeps the conversation engaged and going.

Kim keeps the conversation engaged and going.

So who is Kim Noeth? If you rely solely on her website she seems to be a hero.  She is the great birthmom hero.  She is the great life coach. She will make sure birthmoms all over the world never have a negative or hurt feeling after giving their babies up.  Admittedly, she is a birthmom, one from just after the baby scoop era.  Her adoption story tells about her stay at a maternity home. Quoted in the news story about Kim is, “Noeth isn’t a counselor or psychologist. Her expertise lies in her experience as a birth mother who has ‘gone from nothing to something,’ and finally forgiven herself.”  Ahh, so there it is.  Kim has no professional experience in psychology or counseling.  Her only experience in this field is being a birthmom. One that “forgives herself.” In my opinion, this is how Kim sees us.  As birthmoms who have not forgiven ourselves.  It has never occurred to her that there is nothing to be forgiven for.  That, when it comes down to it, this wasn’t our choice.  It was forced upon us.  As a wise woman by the name of Carri Stearns told me the other night, force means having no other choice.  And isn’t that why we “choose” adoption.  We have no other choice. Why do we need to forgive ourselves for having no choice?  We don’t. We need to change the system that made it that way.

Cohort #3 (you know, the one who was kicked out without participating in any of the above “drama”) messaged Kim to understand why she had been booted and blocked. The response she got was interpreted and perceived as passive aggressiveness disguised as “caring, compassionate, tolerant and understanding.”  You will note, in the very last message that Kim states that moms should be able to keep their babies if at all possible.  I find that she says this humorous because the post that started this all was a mom who wanted to know how to tell her mom that she was giving her baby up because the mom was about to have a contractor come out and build an addition onto her house for this woman and her baby.  Obviously this expectant mother is able to keep her baby but has been convinced it is not best for the baby.  Kim contradicts herself in her last statement because we were trying to show this mother that SHE was good enough to keep her baby.

From "cohort #3" to Kim

From “cohort #3” to Kim

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Kim references the expectant mother I talk about in the beginning. Who would have terminated her parental rights if we wouldn't have stepped in thanks to Kim.

Kim references the expectant mother I talk about in the beginning. Who would have terminated her parental rights if we wouldn’t have stepped in thanks to Kim.

*Messages published with permission from cohort #3 in their entirety

Speaking of Kim’s credentials, it must be noted that she is also an adoption facilitator.  She finds babies for infertile couples (or intends to in the future according to her website) and according to her LinkedIn profile has a background in marketing and campaigning.  Seems appropriate.  Why would someone, birthmother or not, whose job it is to find babies for people (whether or not that is her primary job) choose to run a support group for birthmothers and expectant mothers?  The answer should be obvious and it should be obvious why the truths we were telling were not welcome at all.

Kim, you deserved to parent your son. You were good enough. Be a part of the change.

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13 thoughts on “Birth Moms Today

  1. You are just plain lying in this post. Some of your friends were extremely mean to me and told me that I’d be crying on their doorstep when my adoptive parents slammed the door in my face. How was this respectful? You can continue to spread your negativity but I am at peace with my decision! I am sorry you guys aren’t but you made the decision to place your child. You signed the papers. Don’t put down other women who had a wonderful experience

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    • Chelcie, If you had taken the time to read the entire post, and view the included screen shots, you would see that I did not lie, not one iota. Yes, she did tell you that. It is in the screen shots I posted. And, as I stated, “After this it was almost impossible for one of my cohorts to keep her mouth shut. She was passive aggressively attacked and triggered and let loose the beast.” I admitted that she did speak out of turn after her feelings were negated by Kim. So, there is no lying going on in this post. You have just confirmed my story, as I told it. We were in that group for several days and were respectful. This is the only instance of any potential “disrespectful” behavior. And I aired it out for all to see. I am glad that you are at peace with your decision now. I hope it will always be that way. Your happy feelings do not negate those of us who have sad ones. Thanks for stopping by.

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  2. What angers me most about mothers like Kim is they either don’t care or they are too afraid to realize the damage they are doing.
    In my mind, when you hold yourself up as someone who cares for and supports First Mothers in such a way, then you have a responsibility to research and know everything there is about adoption and how it works. To ignore, or simply disregard, all the facts is so very wrong.
    Kim claims she only wants to support mothers for their own good but she lies. She wants to support mothers to give up their babies to justify her own actions. If she truly cared about these moms she would be disgusted by the fact that agencies use the coercive “options” counseling to convince vulnerable pregnant women that they aren’t good enough for their own babies. She’d be honest about the myth of open adoptions. And she’d believe that all mothers deserved to know the harm that could come to their children by giving them up to adoption.
    The damage she does to the mothers in that group is terrible. She’s using her own need to feel special and justified in giving up her own child as reasoning to encourage other mothers to do the same by suggesting, they too, are so unworthy that they deserve to feel as if they were no good for their own children.

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  3. There are so many reason why this method of venting is wrong.
    Yes..you’re successful in sharing your feelings and thoughts but by taking it to the level you did for the clear intention that you did was wrong. It not only effects you and I but it stops valuable energy and validates bitterness. It also damages your credibility as well as mine which on my end must of been your intent.
    We’re not enemies on opposing sides…at least not from my perspective. I would have preferred to know you and the others working with you as caring women that I can refer to when a woman isn’t certain that adoption is her best option. For the few who are certain and choose adoption as a free will choice for their life I want to be there for HER. Insuring that she is properly advocated for so that she isn’t one of the many others like myself and you who didn’t have choices..advocates and support. I am trying to educate AP on the importance of keeping their open adoption commitments and help birthmothers find couple who believe in and support healthy open adoptions. These families agree to using an internet platform for 18 years to deliver documents, pictures etc. and they receive reminders when they fall through. Is it guaranteed? No its as flawed as the people using it but its a positive hopeful difference that can give a birth mother extra assurance that her chosen family will hold their agreements.
    If you do not support any type of adoption that is your right. Purposely coming into a group as turning every positive into a frightening future prediction isn’t healthy. I want my birth moms to hear all perspectives but when women who have placed their children and are currently experiencing healthy relationships with their AP. Its not okay to continually infer they are going to be betrayed.
    My group is pro healthy open adoption to the best means possible. People are going to fail..break promises etc. And my choice is to do whatever possible to inform and educate both the birth mom AND the awaiting families of the extreme importance in healthy open adoptions. Am I going to be able to ensure everyone lives with integrity? No but I’m going to be sure that if I can help a birth mother already in complete decision to find couples with integrity and open adoption understanding to match them with then I believe I made a difference.
    I strive to help woman who have already placed to be at peace with their life today and that means I uplift and fight like heck to keep things conducive to bringing people to a better place.
    Your group has a different perspective and the woman who resonate with that perspective will benefit from your support. My group is pro healthy adoption and pro healing and I hope to provide a safe place for that.
    A few women have been asking to join my group that are in your group. I welcome them if their intent is to add an honest perspective with love and not take every post and bring it down to a negative place. That is unwelcome and not the right platform for them to do so and they will not be welcomed in the group.
    Its unfortunate that our meeting played out this way. I hold no bitterness for where you clearly and unnecessarily mocked me and highlighted me in your light.
    I hope n the future we might be able to come together in peace and use all that energy for good. until then you have your perspective and I mine.
    Thank you for returning the fairness in sharing my response. I will not use this as a means to keep things festering as I am sure my response will be misinterpreted based on everything thus far and I shall choose to try and refrain from adding more fuel to an already bad fire.

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    • Kim, I am tired of being called an angry and bitter birthmom. I will not engage you on my blog, as is clearlt your intent. I shared this blog on your facebook page to express to you how horrible I felt it was for you to attempt to silence those of us with different view points and that is what you did when we spoke about possible bad outcomes to an expectant mother. You posted that we should not try to sway people out of their choice to give their baby up. You see swaying, I see presenting facts. You claim our negativity was giving the group an unsafe feeling and then posted the link to this blog within your group. What did that help? It created more drama within your group. As I said, I will not engage anymore. These are my opinions, based on the facts of what transpired.

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    • “I am trying to educate AP on the importance of keeping their open adoption commitments and help birthmothers find couple who believe in and support healthy open adoptions. These families agree to using an internet platform for 18 years to deliver documents, pictures etc. and they receive reminders when they fall through.”
      How is this considered an open adoption, more like a semi-open if you ask me, remember, language is important. For whose benefit is this? Open adoption is supposed to make it better for the child who is adopted, tell me how this benefits the child not to have consistent regular visits with their mother and build an ongoing relationship. Or is it not supposed to be for the benefit of the chid? Perhaps I’m just confused…
      I hope “expectant mothers” clearly understand what they are going into – regardless of how settled they are before they have even given birth and said hello…

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  4. Except, Kim, you do t actually provide these women in your group with facts. You tell them only happy things. You don’t allow those of us who have good stories, but see that adoption as it currently happens is far too slanted away from the firstmother, to speak. When I came into your group, I, on many different occasions, stated that I was not anti-adoption, but rather pro family preservation. I know there are times when adoption is the right answer, but the truth is for most of the women who give their child for adoption, they really only need to know that parenting is something they are capable of. Once they are assured of that, and hold their child in their arms, they realize how big of a mistake they were about to make. All I wanted to do in your group was to get an understanding of your perspective, and possibly share mine as well. I didn’t bring negativity to your group, only my own truth. You seem to think that you somehow have the right to deny my truth and claim that I am negative and bitter. Well let me tell you right here loud and proud. MY TRUTH ONLY BELOMGS TO ME AND I WILL NOT ALLOW YOU, OR ANYONE ELSE TO SILENCE ME. NOT EVER AGAIN. You are only upset, because the things I said in your group got your happy little positive Polly’sto think about what it would be like if this happened to them . I wasn’t negative. I spoke truth and it threatens your supply of babies for the agency you work for. I was only a danger to your income. That is the real reason you booted me and my friends. Own your truth Kim.

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    • Kim Noeth, I don’t know you, never talked to you and am reading all this about what goes on in your “support” group. I wonder if you realize that if you are an adoption facilitator you are really not on the side of the mother and are really an agent of sorts for the adopters. To me this is unethical and immoral on your part to even be calling yourself a “life coach” or “post adoption counselor” or whatever. You seem to have blocked a group of women that I believe really care about mothers and if they got a few of your clients upset, oh well. That sounds like a victory to me. Sorry you don’t like it and what we have to say about your tactics. I am a mom that was shipped off to a maternity home too, coerced by church and family and no, I won’t forgive myself Kim because I too feel that I have nothing to forgive myself for. Do you remember some of the tactics they used on you in the confinement? Maybe you don’t remember them? You remind me of the women in Africa and Asia that chase other women down and give them FGM. That’s a sad way to live your life Kim, desiring other women to lose their children so other women gain. With every woman you convince Kim does it help you suffer your pain less as you pad your bank account? Do you think you have figured out “how to profit and prosper as a birth mom?”

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      • I cannot be sure, but I think Kim may also be an adoptive mother as she said she has 10 or 11 kids. Which, to me, is also a huge conflict of interest.

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  5. I am a little scared to do this, but I think it’s important to share my perspective from “the other side.” My husband and I are infertile. We are currently in waiting mode hoping to be chosen by an expectant mother. We believe in and WANT an open adoption because we know it’s best for all parties, most specifically the baby. We, and other couples I have known who have adopted, are so grateful to the birth mother that we would never dream of walking away from an open adoption agreement. That’s unethical, deceitful, selfish behavior and I know there are those who do it. I find them despicable. Those are the deplorable people who make open adoption sound like a crock instead of a positive, loving option. What I want you to hear from this comment is that there are a great many hopeful adoptive parents out there who have nothing but respect and admiration for expectant mothers, no matter the circumstances. And those parents would never dream of ending an open adoption agreement. I won’t patronize you by telling you I understand your pain, but I want you to know there are many of us hopeful APs who care deeply for the birth mother and would never act with such a lack of integrity. I have nothing to gain by stating this so I hope you believe what I say. It’s important to me that you know you matter, are respected, and were treated by your child’s parents in a way that can only be described as criminal.

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