10 Things Every Birth Mother Wants Adoptive Parents to Know

adoption learning partners webinar speaker Patricia DischlerPatricia Dischler is an author, speaker, child care professional and birth mother. She is one of the panelists for our Inside the Adoption Circle webinar on Tuesday, January 22.

The following was written by Patricia.

I often told my son’s adoptive mother how much I loved her and was thankful she was a part of my life. But, like many things I’ve told her over the years, Kathy would already know. Back in 1985 I chose open adoption for my son. Being a birthmother has changed my life forever, and I know that becoming an adoptive parent changed Kathy’s too. We’ve traveled the road of adoption together, with respect and honesty. We’ve shared our hopes, our fears and our dreams for the boy we both love.

However, often adoptive parents do not get the chance to build this type of relationship with their child’s birthmother. While most domestic adoptions are open, most children adopted from other countries are not. This disconnect from a child’s beginnings can make it difficult for adoptive parents to provide answers their child will need as they grow and explore the issue of being adopted.

While a birthmother’s experience after placement may be different in open versus closed adoptions, the process leading to the choice of adoption is much more likely to follow the same thread – love. Regardless of our place on this planet, birthmother’s share the journey of facing a decision in a pregnancy and letting our love for our child lead the way. The individual circumstances may be very different from culture to culture, but ultimately we come to a place where we feel that what is best for our child is to have a life different than what we can provide and we choose adoption.

There are 10 things every birthmother thinks about, wishes for, and hopes for when placing their child for adoption. If you are in an open adoption, you may have heard some already, if not, they are important to know. They are:

  • I did not place my child because she was “unwanted.” I wanted her so much that I continued a pregnancy filled with unanswered questions.
  • I chose adoption because I loved my child. This parental love allowed me to put his needs before my own when making my choice.
  • This choice affected more than just me. She has a Grandmother, a Grandfather, and Aunts and Uncles who love her as well, and she will be missed.
  • I wish for the day I can look into my child’s eyes and tell him I love him one more time.
  • I hope that you will teach my child about her beginnings – about where she was born and who I am.
  • I hope you will teach respect to my child by showing respect for me in your discussions.
  • I wish I could be there to answer my child’s questions about adoption, but I trust you to answer them truthfully as best you can.
  • I will never stop thinking about my child. She will always be a part of who I am.
  • I would never try to disrupt my child’s new family with you. I put too much emotion and suffering into making this choice to allow anything to disrupt it – including me.
  • In my eyes, you will always be my child’s Mom and Dad. And that thought brings me happiness.

My son’s mother wrote to me in her first letter: “Children are never really ours, they are just entrusted to us for a time by God.” As birthmothers, we take our short time with our child very seriously, and it affects us the rest of our lives. We place that final kiss on our baby’s forehead and pass them forward to your waiting arms because we know you will be taking it very seriously too.

Learn more about Patricia.

Register for Inside the Adoption Circle: Perspectives. Conversations. Insights.

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11 Comments

Posted by Sean Vincent on March 6, 2014 at 12:53 AM
Thanks for providing the informative tips on caring child in a precise and smooth manner. Keep sharing your experiences.
Posted by Debi Long on February 3, 2014 at 3:06 PM
This really touched me.I was raped in Nov. of 1978 and gave birth to a little girl in 1979...I still miss her. My Adoption was not open. I pray for her everyday and hope that some how she knows I will always love her!!
Posted by Pavel Kurecka on January 22, 2014 at 11:22 PM
Would that things were so open back in 1958 when I was adopted. No contact with the birth mother at birth (she was even told the wrong gender). Even at age 56, there are legal bars to my being told who my genetic parents - or half-siblings, nieces, nephews &c - are. (Found birth Mother by a clerical accident and some research.)
Good to know things have become more humane.
BTW, this system will not permit diacritical marks on names. Very limiting in a global environment.
Posted by Robyn Steele on January 13, 2014 at 12:33 PM
I have great respect for birthmothers who choose adoption. I often wondered if I had chose adoption if my daughters would have had a better life. In fact I'm almost sure they would have. God bless birthmothers.
Posted by Brenda on January 9, 2014 at 10:33 PM
I loved hearing your view on adoptive parents. Some of these I knew. I knew because I saw the pain in her eyes. I know she loves him very much! I have so much respect for her because she loved him so much she chose life. A selfless and painful decision.
Posted by Cheryl on January 8, 2014 at 9:35 PM
We have 2 adopted daughters. I made a photo album for each of them with photos of their special 'mothers/fathers' : grandmothers/grandfathers godmother/godfather, birth mother/birth father and mother-mommy/father-daddy.
Posted by Bridget Gordinier on January 8, 2014 at 6:11 PM
I gave my Daughter up in 1978, an era of closed Adoption. Open Adoption was unheard of. And on 10/07/2013 i HELD HER IN MY ARMS AGAIN. AND SHE TRULY LOVES ME AS MUCH AS I LOVE HER. And for that I thank her Mom. She raised her to know I placed her with Love. And the day I met her Mom was almost as joyful as the day I met my Daughter. And we are building a beautiful life with our Families together. I will never let go again.
Posted by Adoption Learning Partners on December 20, 2013 at 10:07 AM
Noreen,
Thanks for your comment - you make a great point. Here are some additional points from Judy Stigger - an adoption therapist and one of our featured experts:
Contact with birth parents after removal of a child is more complicated - but very often adoptive families and birth families stay in touch.
Even when children know their birth parents made hurtful or damaging decisions about the child's pre-natal and early care, children are curious and often worry about their birth parents. Adoptive parents may want to stay in touch, but buffer what is passed on to the child. Safety is always the first consideration - sometimes contact should be shared through an agency and identifying information should be removed.
One idea for ongoing contact is to set up a website where you and birth mom can post photos, but agree ahead of time not to post each other's pictures elsewhere.
Hope this is helpful!
Posted by Adoption Learning Partners on December 20, 2013 at 10:00 AM
Suzy,
Sounds like you have quite the trip ahead of you. Congratulations on your son's placement. I've included some thoughts from Judy Stigger, an adoption therapist and one of our featured experts:
1. Explain the idea of a "tummy mommy" with the same attitude, intensity and affection as you would explain aunts, uncles and in-laws.
2. Put together a little "all about me book" with a few photos for each year and captions in English and, if useful, in Mandarin. (Take several copies of this book so your daughter does not mind leaving one behind with her birth family and another with the agency in Taiwan.)
3. Read some books together about getting a new brother.
4. If you are someone who becomes emotional and teary, explain ahead of time that you do that when you are really happy.
Best of luck and congratulations again!
Posted by noreen on December 17, 2013 at 9:29 AM
Hi. A great list, yes but I wish specific points would be added to list to cover children and their birth parents where children were removed from home due to neglect, addiction etc
Posted by Suzy on December 11, 2013 at 10:34 PM
Thank you for this list, I needed this right now. Four years ago we adopted our daughter as an infant from Taiwan. In two weeks, we will be returning to Taiwan to meet our son for the first time and we will also be meeting with our daughter's birth family for the 2nd time. The first time was when we traveled to Taiwan to bring her home, and now this time is purely a family reunion 4 years later. The first meeting was so emotional as my husband and I had just become along awaited parents and then meeting our birth family was the most humbling and emotional experience I have ever experienced. I am afraid that this meeting will be emotional again and am working to prepare our daughter for meeting. Do you have any advice?
Discussion, advice and a few of our favorite experts. All for families formed through adoption.

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