A friend of mine has this great quote: "Adoption is not a breaking of trust, but a keeping of faith. Not an abandonment of baby, but an abandonment of self for baby's sake." (thanks Amanda)
I hear it all the time. People accuse birth parents (or expectant parents considering adoption) of selfishness. Of putting themselves first. Of not loving their child. "If you loved your baby, you'd be a real parent."
This is an utter falsehood.
A mother wants what is BEST for her child. A mother loves her child to the point of self-sacrifice. What loving mother would not starve so her child could eat? Motherhood is the ultimate selflessness.
Adoption is an extension of this loving sacrifice. A mother who loves her child, who wants what is best for her child, will look at her own circumstances with a steely eye. What does she see there? Does she see the ability to care for the child? To provide for him? To give him the love and affection and attention that he deserves? Does she see her own knowledge--innate or learned--necessary to parent this child? Does she see the ability to provide him with all the opportunities another child would have? Will her child be able to go to a good school, have toys and clothes and good food? Will he be able to play Little League or take piano lessons? Does she see her ability to give this child a good life?
In the case of a birth mother...no, she doesn't see those things. She sees her own lack of experience, money, good circumstances, and a loving husband to provide balance and stability and to take his share of the load.
Of course the birth mother loves her child. She is a mother. She loves him more than she loves himself.
So much, in fact, that she is willing to endure the agony of parting with her child in order to give him that good life she wants so much for him.
Placing my son for adoption was the hardest thing I have ever done. But I look at his happy, smiling face, and I know that I could not have given him everything he has. I listen to his sweet voice singing me the ABC's, and I know that he is where he should be. He has all those things that I wanted for him. I love him so much, and I am happy for him. Because I placed him for adoption with a sweet and loving family, he can have the life I could not have given him. I know it was right.