Friday, September 17, 2021

Anita Baker on the Pain Caused From Discovering Her Mom Gave Her Up for Adoption

Anita Baker

*R&B icon Anita Baker once opened up about the pain she endured for years after learning her birth mother gave her up for adoption when she was a baby. 

During a 2009 interview with Essence, the songbird confessed that it took years for her to find peace about her mother’s decision. 

“Not because she was a bad person or because she was some monster or something. She was just a child and could not care for me. It has taken me a long time to find peace within my own heart.”

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Baker was 13-years-old when she learned the woman she thought was her mother was actually her foster parent. Anita’s aunt, Lois Landry, who she grew up thinking was her older sister, was the one who dropped the bombshell about her birth after her foster mother Mary passed. 

Lois reportedly told Baker that she was her aunt and that Anita was given away to Mary by her birth mother. Lois and her husband ultimately adopted Anita and raised her as their own. Anita explained to Essence that she refers to Lois as her “Earth Mother” per ILOSM

“That child believed her mother abandoned her,” [Anita Baker] said (referring to herself), “because there was something bad about her. Something terrible that made her unlovable. And until Walter [Baker’s then husband], that is how I felt about me—that I was not good enough. Not good, period.”

Baker said the feelings of self-doubt and insecurities “started with the fact that my mother gave me up when I was a baby.” 

As her parental figures started getting sick and dying, she had to adjust her touring and recording schedule accordingly. 

“Every time I would leave to do music, my mother would go into the hospital,” she says of the aunt she calls her earth mother, as opposed to her birth mother. “And eventually I decided, you know what, I’m not leaving, because it’s just not worth it to me to leave her.

“So I set up a studio at home. My producer would be flying in, and we’d be in the middle of something, and I would get a call from the hospital, and I’d have to go. And then I’d come back, and I’d try to get back to the place where we were writing this beautiful love song. And then it’s three o’clock, the kids come home from school, and they’re like, ‘Mommy, this is what happened today… What are we going to eat?’ That’s all they understood, and they should have that. The two—my life and my music—would not coexist. They simply would not.”

You can read her full conversation with Essence here

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is a screenwriter and freelance reporter from Chicago -- currently living in Los Angeles and covering A-list entertainment for various outlets, including Emmys.com. She has worked for: Miramax, MTV & VH1, The Jim Henson Company, Hallmark Channel, Paramount Pictures, and for iconic indie film producer Roger Corman.

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