Adoption can be challenging to talk about, even for the most seasoned advocate. In this Live AMA with birth mom Ashley Mitchell, we dig deep into adoption and discuss what empowering support looks like for birth moms.
Ashley placed her son for adoption when she was 26 years old. In the years since, she has become one of the most sought after birth mother voices in the nation, founding Big Tough Girl and Lifetime Healing Foundation.
Whether you’re new to the adoption space or long-time advocate, this episode is for you. Click the video below and hit start at the 17-minute mark to watch.
Thanks for being part of this important conversation. Just by showing up, you’re making a difference!
Here’s an overview of the show.
[22:30] Ashley’s story: Ashley opens up about when she found out about her pregnancy, what she felt and thought in that season, and how she came to choose adoption.
[29:45] Adoption misconceptions: Ashley explains that “adoption” is a blanket term that refers to a broad range of adoptions (international adoption, foster care, domestic infant adoption, kinship adoption). It’s important to define which kind of adoption you’re talking about. For the purposes of this conversation, Ashley defines domestic infant adoption as the topic we’re addressing.
[33:10] Why birth moms don’t feel they can share their stories: It’s hard to accept that every adoption comes from a place of brokenness. And thus, our tendency has been to emphasize the experience of adoptive parents. This focus on the “family building” aspect of adoption has led us to marginalize birth mothers, stifling their voices and leaving them to deal with her trauma and grief alone.
[43:05] Adoption professionals, we can do better: Ashley challenges adoption professionals to find new, more effective ways to equip and prepare birth moms and adoptive parents for the road ahead. Adoption professionals are the guide, and they need to be there in the rebuild.
[54:45] Words of encouragement for birth moms: Ashley reminds birth moms everywhere that they are not alone and invites them to reach out and connect with her here.
[57:23] Changing the way the culture sees birth moms: Ashley calls us to create space and resources that allow birth moms to grieve and process their trauma. As a culture, we need to realize that she is a real person, not a hero nor a failure. She’s a woman, who doesn’t want to be defined by a single decision or mistake.
[1:09:00] What empowering support looks like for a birth mom: Ashley ends the show with advice on how to support birth moms. Sit with her and listen to her. Try to put our opinions aside (even if we have the right answers) and let her express how she’s feeling. Remind her that she has the right to choose to parent or to choose someone else to parent her child, and that she is capable and worthy of both paths. This creates a better future for everyone in the adoptive triad.
Thank you for being part of this important conversation. We hope it equips you to be an even better advocate for birth moms and adoption as a whole!
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