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Birth mothers share memories at reunion

MT. VERNON, Ill. (BP)–Dolores Wishard made a painful decision 11 years ago when she gave up her baby for adoption.
“I know I did the right thing,” Wishard said. “I gave life to a child. It’s a good pain.”
Wishard was one of 11 mothers who gave up their children for adoption attending a “birth mother reunion” at the Baptist Children’s Home maternity home in Mt. Vernon, Ill.
The group was strictly birth mothers — no spouses or children. It included mothers who had given up their children for adoption as long as 19 years ago and as recently as last August.
“I think for many of the girls a lot of emotional healing took place,” said Carla Monroe, supervisor of maternity, foster care and adoption. “Just being here, recalling that experience, brought a lot of tears, but also helped bring closure.”
The mid-May session began with an informal time of discussion, sharing and remembering.
“Giving this baby up for adoption was the single most defining thing in my life,” said Iris Gitcho, whose baby was born 14 years ago. Gitcho is a member of Suburban Baptist Church, Granite City, Ill.
Marti Buhl, who gave up her child for adoption 19 years ago, is a member of Emmanuel Baptist Church, Carlinville, Ill. She’s never married and never had children because of her love for her daughter. “I still love her with all my heart,” she said.
“We’ve given parents a life,” Buhl reflected. “That child is being loved.” But still, she said, it’s one of the “hardest things I’ve ever done.”
Wishard, of Mattoon, Ill., agreed. “I felt like somebody was taking a part of me,” she said. “I would never change it. I know I made the parents happy.” Being a Christian has given Wishard strength through the tough times, she said. “It helped me to know I had the Lord on my side.”
The reunion continued over lunch and an afternoon session. “The afternoon became more intense and more emotional as we talked about how their adoption experience had been for them over the years,” Monroe said.
Monroe plans for the reunion to be an annual event.
“It was gratifying for me to see how well some of these birth mothers have done in their lives,” Monroe said. “I’m very proud of them for what they’ve accomplished in their life.”

    About the Author

  • Tim Ellsworth

    Tim Ellsworth is associate vice president for university communications at Union University in Jackson, Tenn. BP reports on missions, ministry and witness advanced through the Cooperative Program and on news related to Southern Baptists’ concerns nationally and globally.

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