Mitchell wrote Little Green in 1967 about the daughter she had given up for adoption in 1965, when she was a poor folk singer in Toronto. The existence of her daughter was not publicly known until 1993, when a room-mate from Mitchell's art-school days in the 1960s sold the story of the adoption to a tabloid magazine. Mitchell commented on the situation in an interview quoted in a 1998 article:
"I was dirt poor. An unhappy mother does not raise a happy child. It was difficult parting with the child, but I had to let her go."