Suz Bednarz – Reunited Mother

Surrendered my first born child to adoption in 1986 after five month stay in a maternity home, known as Gehring Hall, located one thousand miles from my family home.

Intimidation and coercion tactics used include, but not limited to, deceit, isolation, promissory notes, and threats of lawsuit, denial of contact with family members and legal professionals and restricting knowledge of legal process.

I am also the founder of ehbabes.com. The site and associated support group provides search, support and reunion assistance to those separated by the Kurtz network of agencies. Agencies include but are not limited to: Easter House, Birth Hope, American Friends of Children, Friends of Children, Adoption Edition, Adoption World, Casa del Sur and others. The site and its registry members have NO association with the agencies.

  • Successfully facilitated over 200 reunions for members of ehbabes.com
  • Family preservationist
  • Supporter of adoptee rights and open records

12 Thoughts.

  1. Dear Suz,
    Your story totally breaks my heart. I got pregnant, when I was a teenager. It was 1982. I was forced into a maternity home. My story ended differently than yours. I did keep my baby, but not without a fight. However, I would not have been able to do this if my 18-year-old sister had not contacted a lawyer. By that time, I was nearly 8 months pregnant. I still tremble, when I think about it. I was a hair away from having my baby stolen from me.
    During my incarceration at the home, we were bombarded with lies, lies, lies!!!! I was even told by one social worker that since I was under the age of 16, that the state could terminate my rights merely based on my age alone; and if that were to happen, it could be used against me if I ever had any other children.
    I want to scream when people tell me that I’m lying about the five months I spent in that prison. People have said things to me such as,”Did they still even have those homes in 1982?” It’s always said with tone of sarcastic disbelief.
    To make a long story short, I had to fight to keep my daught till she was almost 2 years old. Contrary to what the all-knowing social workers and nuns said, I did graduate from high school AND college. I even managed to marry a decent man.(Hint of sarcasm here). Even though I was one of the few lucky ones who managed to escape with my child, it was not without damage to my daughter and me. The damage was caused by the emotional abuse from these jerks.
    Lately, I have become extremely angry at these people for what they have done to all of us. When did it become the job of young women to provide babies to the infertile people? Maybe this anger is coming from the realization that I was not able to really enjoy my pregnancy or that so much of my focus during the first two yearrs of daughter’s life was spent on maintaining my custody and my rights.
    I raised my daughter by myself. My parents were both disabled and not in any position to help. Also, I think that the lack of support from other people was due to the fact that they didn’t approve of my choice. My aunt couldn’t believe that I wasn’t embarrassed by my situation.
    I hate that saying that “it takes a village to raise a child” Where was the darn village, when I needed them? I’ll tell you where. They were dragging my butt to court trying to declare me an unfit mother. Their “reason” was that I was too busy with school and work, therefore I didn’t have the time to be mother. I was working to jobs. One job was to pay bills. The other job paid for child care so that I could go to high school. Never once did any of these jerks tell me that I could apply for state help. My organic chemistry prof- of all people-told me about all the help I could get. If she knew about these things, surely the social workers knew. They just wanted to force me into relinquishment. They thought that I would give up.
    I didn’t mean to make this so wordy. I want you to know that what you are doing helps and will help so many people. I want to help, too. God Bless you and all the other girls and women, who lost their children to the adoption vultures.—-Maggie

    • Maggie – Thank you for your comment and for sharing your experience. Most of all congratulations for getting away with your child. (How ridiculous does that sound). So many times I have regretted that I was not strong enough to do same. That I did not fight the agency, did not run away from the maternity home. Much love to you and your daughter.

  2. Could you please tell me where it would be possible to watch the film ‘A Girl Like Her’. Thank you. It is so disgusting that so many girls and women were forced to give up their babies.

    • Janet – I recommend visiting the film website and watching the info on upcoming screenings. You might also be able to sign up for updates to be sent you.

  3. Thank you both, Suz and Maggie, for telling your telling your stories. I am an adult adoptee in the reunion process and have found the stories of birthmothers heartbreaking, disturbing, and inspiring. Your stories continue to be so important given the current climate of women’s reproductive rights . I am close to adoption and had little understanding of the multiple violations of basic human rights in the adoption process. My mission these days is to get more people to read and understand how your experiences as birthmothers are relevant to every member of our society…we are all affected.

  4. Wow, love the quote and it reminds me immediately of a strange little story of cultural perceptions. I was born and adopted in 1968, my birthmother sent to a convent in a tiny town in a rural community. I think it was more from shame that women back then felt compelled to do so, they had no one to turn to and there was no tolerance. I met her 23 years later and we have a good relationship now.

    But the cultural perception I refer to relates to visiting my husband’s huge embracing, loving family in Bethlehem, Palestine – he is Muslim, ironically born in the same town as Jesus Christ. When we spent a couple of months there, he asked me not to mention the story of my adoption, because, although it is perceived in our culture as being something wonderful when a reunion goes well, he thought they may perceive it as something shameful, that families where I came from could abandon a blood relative (a baby) and wouldn’t understand why in effect the baby was being given away, or the argument that the baby goes to a loving family who couldn’t have children.

    I had to think about that for a long while and would have loved to have had an open discussion with someone in the family about it, but meeting them for the first time I decided just to observe and get to know them.

    I do know that no matter what the story, whatever the pain, that for all our own sakes, it is necessary to heal and to forgive and to ensure that our own children benefit from the experiences we have had. Children are a gift and no one should ever be manipulated either directly or indirectly into giving their child away.

    • Wow, Claire. Odd that I find your group on SheWrites and you are adopted and can relate to some of my musings. Your cultural statements are also interesting yet not new to me. I am familiar with a male Muslim adoptee blogger that shares similar thoughts to what you describe with your husband’s family. I can share his blog/email with you if you want to connect with him (he may even speak up here if he seems this commetn)

  5. I found you through a recent comment you made on Lorraine Dusky’s blog about the correct language to use. I am in recent reunion with a son that was given up in 1972 – only 3 months in. All is well at the moment and I don’t expect it to ever be otherwise. Initially this whole thing freaked me out, more due to how I was brainwashed during my stay at a maternity home and just by the social norms of the day. I searched website after website to see if I could find someone I could relate to. Alas, it was really your comments on said websites that brought me here.
    I truly understand the need for adoption reform, I understand the need for political activism. What I don’t understand is the petty, bitter arguing that goes on over being called “birth mother” vs. “first mother” and other arguments over language. Wouldn’t time and energy be better spent if everyone would get over the language. I posted a comment, that Lorraine apparently took offense to but I think she took it too personally when it was directed to the community at large.
    Thanks for the writing that you do. At least I don’t feel like I’m crazy anymore.

    • Def not crazy Joanne and if you are I am too! Nice to have company! I believe the language police have a point and I understand it. However, I don’t spend my time fighting it. When I assessed who I am, what I want to do, how I can change things, I found I preferred to work on cutting off the supply, supporting mothers who need support and preventing them from getting into the adoption heart washing machine to begin with. I wish the language police well and hope they are successful. It is not where I choose to spend my time.

  6. Again, Sue…you write amazing stuff on these issues! Your strength and understanding and description of the real issues no one talks about is outstanding! Thank you so much for your ability to share through your written work!

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