OBG Editor’s Note: For the last three years, birthparents from across the state of Ohio have traveled to Columbus each month to attend our independent, birthparent-led support meetings. While we will certainly miss them in Columbus, we’re thrilled that our incredible friends in Cincinnati have decided to officially bring OBG to Queen City! Introducing the three birthparent organizers of our new OBG-Cincinnati chapter…
Welcome to Ohio Birthparent Group-Cincinnati!
We, the three birth mother facilitators of OBG-Cincinnati, span multiple generations and have very different adoption experiences. Yet, we share one thing in common. Each of us has experienced the life-altering experience of losing a child to adoption.
My name is Susan Anthony and I lost my child to adoption in 1967. Popularly known as “Baby Scoop Era”, this time period was characterized by sealed adoption records, a veil of secrecy, and a total lack of counseling or support for birthparents after adoption. In order to survive the loss of my baby girl, I had to wall off my feelings of shame and grief. They didn’t resurface for 27 years until circumstances forced me to open the door to the past. It was terrifying and liberating at the same time and the good news is it resulted in my lost daughter finding my family and me in 1997. Inspired by the new Adoptee Access legislation in Ohio (S.B. 23) that passed in December 2013, I wanted to bring OBG to Cincinnati in order to support local birthparents who are negotiating the emotional rollercoaster of adoption reunion.
Our second founding birthmother has been in an open adoption for four years. She has extensive contact with her child, a genuine friendship with the adoptive parents and has met the extended adopted family. Yet, her open adoption is not without its challenges. She joined the leadership team to help birthparents break through the isolation that keeps them apart, challenge the assumptions people make about adoption, and “help birthparents rely on each other for support.”
Our third founding member lost her daughter to adoption in 1996. Like me, her daughter’s adoption was ‘closed’ but she became involved early on in a post-adoption support organization called Adoption Network Cleveland. She relates, “Through this group I was able to receive support and education about adoption issues and meet many other birthparents. As I moved out of state and to other areas of Ohio, I realized that this type of support network is unique and rare. My hope for starting this group in Cincinnati is to extend support to the birthparents in this area, to let them know they are not alone, and to provide a safe place for them to share their experiences with people who understand.”
Three women, three unique stories. Together, we hope to reach out to birthparents in all generations, from all walks of life, and extend an invitation to find support among our group. We hope to develop a community of birthparents in Cincinnati that allows each member to find their voice, understand their adoption experience on their own terms and be supported in their journey to self-definition and self-discovery. We pledge to honor one another as peers in this journey and respect each of our stories as sacred. Please join us!
If you’re a birth mother or birth father in Cincinnati or Northern Kentucky, join OBG Cincinnati every Third Saturday from 10:30am-12:30pm at the Blue Ash Library.