I had little experience with birth mothers prior to adopting my own daughter and writing about adoption. It was then that I began to meet many, including friends who I hadn’t known had made an adoption plan for their child. I started reading more about the birth parent process, talking with and interviewing more birth mothers. There are a lot of unique stories and no situation is the same, but most importantly, I learned a lot about what I could do better to embrace birth mothers; not just my friends and family, but to support birth mothers locally and in the adoption community.
Embracing the Birth Mother of Your Child
Whatever level of openness you have in your adoption, it’s important that you embrace the birth mother of your child for their own well being and frankly, your own. When I talk about my daughter’s birth mother, watch out, I’m going to cry. There’s no way I can not. This woman chose me to parent this amazing little girl and I’m forever grateful. We have a semi-open adoption, so I don’t get to see her and neither does my daughter. But, what we do have the opportunity to do is to share all of the wonderful things we know about her with my daughter. She is someone we talk about all the time in our house. My daughter knows that she and her birth mother have the same long legs, skin color, love of swimming and music, and above all, she knows how much she loves her. This is so important. I know that if my daughter ever has the opportunity to meet her in person, she will know enough to have whatever relationship the two of them choose to have.
When co-founder of helpusadopt.org, Becky Fawcett, adopted her first child, she admits that open adoption was a concept that made her anxious.
“I will fully admit that sixteen years ago, I was terrified of open adoption and the birth mother relationship–because I didn’t understand it,” Fawcett says. “In spite of that initial fear, I jumped full force into these relationships with my kids’ birth mothers because I made a promise to open adoption. What I found was something wonderful for me too.”
As Fawcett explains, these relationships were important to her because these women had chosen her to parent their children, and it’s something she’s grateful for every day.
“We recently spent a few days with my oldest daughter’s birth mother and we talked about how we just didn’t know sixteen years ago that we could have forged a friendship like we have. No one really told us what this could be. Sixteen years ago, open adoption was about correspondence and pictures, not friendship and family.”
Getting to know your child’s birth mother and including them in family events is what open adoption strives to be today and Becky and her family have had a truly wonderful experience.
Celebrating a Birth Mother in Your Life
As I mentioned, I learned later on that there were many people in my life who were or would be birth mothers. I know that some days are really hard for them, like the birthday of their child to Mother’s Day. It’s important to celebrate these days with them and be there for them, even if they don’t ask you too.
National Birth Mother’s Day is always the Saturday prior to Mother’s Day and it is just as important to celebrate this day with birth mothers and others who are a part of the adoption triad. Many adoption agencies and local social workers have events that you can go to to celebrate this important day.
If you have adopted a child, this is a great day to reflect, write letters and share photos, or if you’re able, spend the day with your child’s birth mother. If you know a birth mother, know that this day could be difficult for her. You can offer your support, your time, and be there to listen.
If you’re looking for other ways to support birth parents, click here.
Supporting Birth Mothers in your Community
There are many organizations locally to give back to to help support birth parents. Whether it be an adoption agency, lawyers office, or pregnancy center, there are likely volunteer opportunities in your community or places that need your donations. We like to reach out to these places periodically to see what their needs are. Oftentimes, donations like toiletries, diapers, wipes, etc. can make a huge difference.
If you are a birth mother, there are a lot of opportunities to speak, write, and share your story.
If you want to help and show your support, but don’t know where to start, reach out to an agency to find out where to start.