From, Through, To

Donating breastmilk has been more complicated than I expected it to be. First I tried a milk bank, but there’s nothing local, and the hospitals in town accept milk on behalf of a bank that would require me to pay for a blood test and that charges needy parents quite a bit of money. Then several people linked me to a site called MilkShare (Sharon being the first), I put a post up there, and I sat back and waited. My post gave my location and specified that I’m looking to donate to a person or persons who are already parenting. I got an email from a prospective adoptive mother letting me know that her daughter will be born any day now, and she knows that I don’t like adoptive parents, but would I be willing to donate? I responded,

I have no problem with adoptive parents–I just don’t want to donate to someone who is only matched, since I know that half the time the woman making the adoption plan ends up parenting. But if the baby is placed with you, I’d be happy to be a donor for you; just let me know–I’ll get you some milk (and my congratulations!) ASAP.

She wrote back to let me know that I don’t have to worry about “the birthmom backing out” because at their agency, only 5 percent of the pregnant women end up parenting. Sigh.

I finally did have a “So, do you have hepatitis?” meeting with a woman and her daughter on Wednesday, and she let me know that one of their other donors is a birthmom—not her daughter’s birthmom, a different woman altogether. I asked about their agency and mentioned that it must be nice to have access to medical information via the birth family. I failed to out myself. Then she decided to friend me on Facebook, and while I don’t really talk about adoption on Facebook, I am friends with Ruth and Nora; I’ve been wondering whether it’s possible to figure out that I’m a birthparent. It’s so weird—I’m ordinarily perfectly willing to talk about it, but I don’t actually enjoy doing that, and now I missed the obvious window for telling her. And, okay, the bottom-most truth: since they went through Bethany, I assume she’ll think less of me if she knows I am a birthparent. At any rate, I am filling our freezer with breastmilk for her little girl.

7 thoughts on “From, Through, To

  1. It’s wonderful that you are willing and able to do this but you be sure to take care of yourself.

    I’m sorry that woman doesn’t realize that if her agency has a 5% change-her-mind-rate that her agency SUCKS.

  2. You are a generous woman (& you make a lot of milk! I never did quite like that). I just talked on the phone to two women interested in adopting & realized that before you wade into the process, there’s a lot you’ve never considered before. You can only hope you become educated enough fast enough to make compassionate choices before it’s too late.

  3. Oh, Facebook, the sword that cuts two ways. I can only imagine the agency is stacking its stats somehow. They are probably only counting women who decide to parent after the baby is born, and not counting anyone who changes her mind before the hospital. Marketing weaseltry at its worst.

  4. It is really generous of you to donate milk. The process seems pretty involved and time-consuming. It can take me a while to get a read on someone; until then, I tend to be a little reserved. I think it’s fine you didn’t take that first opening. Based on some of the things you mentioned, I’d also wonder if she carried negative perceptions (misperceptions) of expectant mothers and birthparents. If it comes up later, that’s totally fine. That 5% statistic is so depressing…

    • Honestly, if she had gotten back to me after a successful placement and I hadn’t yet found a recipient, I would totally have donated to her—because it’s for the baby, not the mom. That was my mantra for a couple of days! 😉

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