Written by Danelle Henden. Life is unpredictable! As a birthmother, I can attest to that. Life is unfair! As a black woman, I can relate to that. It was Martin Luther King Jr. who said, “There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.” For me and for many others, this is that time. The world has never been fair for people of color (POC). History seems to want to forget atrocities and put a band-aid on wounds too big to cover. Black parents understand the way this country is, and there is a fear for your children.
As a birthmother, you are not always sure of the environment your child is in. You may not even get to see your child often. However, that fear is not lessened — if anything, it’s increased. The guilt can be overwhelming! My adoption is an interracial one so there was an initial fear. There are non-POC who do not even realize the level of inherit racism they possess. You have this inner caution because there are people with spouses, children, and family who still have those inherited biases. The person must want to educate themselves and be open to education to get a new understanding. Luckily for me, I got two incredible people who understood and were open to advice from me.
However, as I stated, life is not always fair. The climate on race in this country has not improved as far as we would have hoped. It’s hard to look at the news and not see the glaring truth of how people of color are treated, labeled, reported about, and villainized. It’s discouraging by itself, but when you add the fear for a child in the mix, it can become overwhelming.
Know you are not alone. Know that we are fighting for equality. Trust in your decision and pray, if you can. This country is not perfect for anyone and disproportionately so for some. However, it is home; one day, we will get it right. One day, the fear we mothers (birth or otherwise) of black children have will lessen. We will continue to fight and hope for better days for our children. Let me close with the words of Dr. King again, applied to us mothers: “The ultimate measure of a (wo)man is not where (s)he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where (s)he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”