As you prepare for your adoption, you have many things on your mind–gathering paperwork, fundraising, preparing for baby. But one thing–or rather, one person–you may be forgetting is your child’s birth mother. As you prepare to bring your baby home, she is preparing to say goodbye. As you prepare to add to your family, now is the time to think of ways you can include the birth mom in your family.
1. Show love and concern for her. It’s an exciting time for you as you anticipate the arrival of your baby, but remember that the baby is hers until she relinquishes her parental rights. This is an incredibly difficult decision she is making, and she does not need to hear over and over about your baby preparations. She is a person, too, and she could probably use someone in her life who is genuinely concerned about her. Ask her about how she is feeling. Talk to her about what she likes to do in her spare time. Make sure that she has a good support system. It’s okay to talk about the baby at times, but make sure that most of your conversation focuses on her.
2. Ask for her opinion. Many birth moms agonize over the decision to place their child for adoption. Then they agonize over which family would be a good fit. It’s okay if your opinions differ, but you can show the birth mom a lot of respect by listening to her opinions as well. She may have some thoughts about names, vaccinations, or even religious traditions. She may even be able to share with you some of her family’s traditions, which can help you protect your child’s roots as they grow.
3. Offer to keep an open line of communication after placement. Open adoption can be a beautiful thing for everyone. It’s a great way for you to find out medical information about your child, keep them tied to their roots, and protect them from feelings of abandonment. The birth mom may not want a lot of communication, but giving her that option can show her that you respect her place in your child’s life. Some birth moms only want letters and pictures to assure them that all is well. Keeping in touch does not mean there are expectations that the birth mom is to be a “second mommy.” Giving her updates over a period of time is a compassionate way of assuring her she made the right decision in placing her child with you, in addition to assuring her that her child is safe and thriving.
Navigating the fragile relationships in an adoption can be tricky, but the key is to do all you can to respect each other. Once you open the lines of communication, you may be surprised at the connections you make.