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:
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.
At some point all parents face behavioral challenges with their children. Adopted children have often had unfortunate experiences that may increase misbehavior and make traditional discipline techniques ineffective. Join Phyllis Booth, Founder of Theraplay®, and Mandy Jones, LCSW, JD, certified Theraplay® therapist at the Center for Lifelong Adoption Support, as they provide an empathetic understanding of why negative behaviors occur and discuss tools, techniques and activities that parents can use to tame temper tantrums and create positive relationships.