As a birth mother, I know that the uncertainty of when you’re going to see your child again and how you’re going to build a good, solid relationship with him or her in such short visits can be stressful. Those precious visits, though blissful, never fill the void of missing out on parenting day in and day out. Of course, as the birth mothers, we want to interact and experience life with our children! But especially when they’re young, they don’t want to sit at the table and talk for hours, telling us about themselves and discussing genetic similarities. They want to go play and be a kid! So here are some fun things to do on those visits to really build a relationship with your child.
Celebrate Missed Holidays
This was an idea I stole from my friends Tracey and Robert. They live quite far from most of their grandbabies, so they came up with holiday bins that they bring on visits. Each bin is for a different holiday. For example, for the Easter holiday, they have Easter egg dying kits and hollow eggs to fill with treats for an impromptu Easter egg hunt. For Christmas, they bring some presents and a tiny fake tree to decorate, and so on. So why couldn’t we, as birth mothers, do the same for visits with our kids? That way we can experience the joys of different holidays with them and make multi-holiday memories.
Do Something That Shows Off “Firsts” That You Might Have Missed
Now, stay with me on this one. As a birth mother, we miss out on a lot of firsts with our kids. They begin to learn different things and engage in activities that showcase their newer abilities. If they’ve just learned to walk, go to a park. If they had their first day of school, have them do a show-and-tell of the things they did. If they joined a basketball team for the first time, go outside and let them run laps around you and shoot some hoops. Doing these kinds of activities helps you experience the joys of their growth and progression.
Create Your Own Special Traditions
This one is very general, but I think it makes for a great bonding idea. Every family has their own traditions, so why not make some especially for the two of you? Maybe each time you get to visit, you go to a special spot together and read the same book. Perhaps you always go get a scoop of ice cream at your child’s favorite creamery. You could even come up with a secret handshake! And if you want to get really fancy, you could always coordinate with their parents and have them over for a party the day before or after their birthday every year. These traditions don’t have to be extravagant, but the redundancy will stick in their minds and create positive memories.
Whatever it is you choose to do, do it with the intention of letting your child know that he or she is deeply loved and cared for, even when you’re not physically there.
Are you considering placing a child for adoption? Not sure what to do next? First, know that you are not alone. Visit Adoption.org or call 1-800-ADOPT-98 to speak to one of our Options Counselors to get compassionate, nonjudgmental support. We are here to assist you in any way we can.