May 11th, 2007
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Categories: Relinquishment

no sm(continued from previous post)

In another scenario, some women have done nothing that’s morally questionable, but still feel shame. They are victims of rape. I know a woman who was raped at age 14; she surrendered the baby who was conceived from the attack. You might think that her child would be an unpleasant reminder of a terrible ordeal, but far from resenting her son, she has gone on to have one of the best open adoptions I’ve ever seen. She doesn’t love him any less because of how he was created. She’s struggled through many difficult conversations with her child about his origins, but she adores him, and it works.


My feeling is that shame is almost never solved by surrender. The issues stick around, regardless. And when it comes to secrecy, the truth will out, no matter what, and you will deal with these issues whether you parent your child or not. In my opinion, shame on its own is never a good enough reason to surrender. If you face a combination of other issues, such as poverty, mental illness, or lack of family support, you may still elect to entrust your baby to others; but I don’t recommend that you do so only because your conception wasn’t something out of a storybook. Sometimes reality isn’t pretty, but that doesn’t mean you can’t love the child that results.

And a postscript: if the agency or counselor that you are working with is encouraging you to feel shame or to relinquish in order to have a “fresh start,” this should be a red flag, indicating that they are not a reputable, ethical organization. No one should ever pressure you to make a decision based on emotional buttons such as guilt or shame. A good counselor knows that these issues are not solved with the relinquishment of a child; they will persist and perhaps even worsen after surrender.

2 Responses to “How shame leads to surrender, part 2”

  1. thomasina says:


  2. Jan Baker says:

    I must agree that the idea of a fresh start does not work as it might be suggested for most women. Relinquishing a child to adoption generally seems adds to feelings of shame and guilt.

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