Birthmother Interacting with the Adoptive Family After Adoption
As a birthmother you’ve just placed your baby with the adoptive family. Everything went smoothly with the open adoption process. The adoptive parents are now raising a beautiful child in a loving home. But now the realization (and possibly uncertainty) sets in on how to properly communicate and interact with the adoptive parents especially the adoptive mother through the open adoption process. You want to make sure that you create the best environment for your child to grow up.
Question is do you feel self-conscious around the adoptive mother. Do you try to seem too cheerful around her and do you avoid referring to yourself as a mom or mother so you don’t hurt her feelings. Maybe you also call your child by name as opposed saying “my son’ or “my daughter’ when the adoptive mother is around for the same reason. In essence you may feel like you’re walking on eggshells because you know how you feel but you don’t know what she is thinking or feeling.
Here are some key understandings that can help adoptive parents, and especially adoptive moms understand what is going through the mind of a birth mother
Birthmother or Mom: What’s In a Name
Though most birth mother’s think of themselves as “Birth Moms” a few think of themselves as moms – and that’s ok. Because whatever they think of themselves it still doesn’t invalidate your position in the child’s life. The good news is that your child knows he or she is loved by two women.
You have to realize that there is going to be some emotional pain, to varying degrees, on your part as the birth mother. Rationally you know that you did the right thing by placing your child for adoption. But you still might experience emotional loss after calls and visits. It’s natural. It’s also something you shouldn’t feel guilty about. These are feelings that you must and will work through so be understanding and empathic. Understand why it’s happening but don’t feel guilty because of it. Overtime it will get easier especially as your child flourishes with his or her adoptive family.
This can be tricky with both parties unsure how to proceed. Both adoptive parents and birth moms can fell threatened and insecure about the whole process. Who should reach out? Am I asking for more than the allotted time with my birth child? Should I feel guilty about reminding adoptive parents about a scheduled interaction? Should I feel guilty for not reminding?
All of these are valid concerns and feelings. Unfortunately there are no easy answers because every situation is different. Good communication is the only solutions. Share your feelings and insecurities openly. It will prove to everyone one involved that you are caring and trying to do your best for the child. Also be proactive in adhering to the open adoption agreement. Reach out to the adoptive parents and let them know via call, text, email even a social media post that both the child and parents are in your thoughts
“Do I Have A Say”
Many birth moms are afraid that their input isn’t valued. You are important to the relationship. Even if you disagree with something the adoptive parents say that doesn’t mean you end the open adoption. No two people are going to agree on everything but it’s important that you feel that through the boundaries of the agreed upon open adoption process that you are being heard and your feelings are being acknowledged. Communicating will only make the process easier and the bonds stronger.
“I Placed My Child Now What?”
Many birth mothers never consider what life will be like after the adoption. There will be a lot of emotions to process. Realize that there will probably be a period of transition for you as you translate from being pregnant, and giving birth to suddenly being your previous self again as if nothing happened. And yet something momentous happened. Some birth mothers might pull away during this period as they are unsure of how to act. You may be back to your life but you have not gotten over giving birth to a child. If you feel that you’re pulling away don’t be afraid to take some time away to process your emotions. It might be exactly what you need and does not make you a bad person.
Many birth mothers are self-conscious about the stigma and misconceptions of placing a child for adoption. They want people to understand that they do love their birth child and that they didn’t place a child because they were selfish. Many birth mothers want people to know that they placed their child so he or she would have the best possible opportunity in life and not because it was an easy way out.
You’re in This Together
Adoption professionals agree that it is extremely important that you draft an open adoption agreement, even in states where the document would have no legal bearing. Having defined structure and rules lets both parties know what their obligations are. An open adoption removes the ambiguities that can lead to confusion resentment and emotional pain. When both parties know exactly what to expect and what is expected from them a happier more harmonious relationship will be created. This in turn will further enhance the adopted child’s chance to succeed in life.