Openness can be hard and rewarding at the same time. You have to decide what is best for your family and what is best for your child. Some adoptees, in open adoptions, see their birth moms once or twice a year. Others exchange letters and pictures without face-to-face contact.
There may be seasons of your life when the openness varies. We have learned this with my daughter’s birth mom.
When her birth mom’s life is stable, we hear more from her. When her life is chaotic, we don’t hear from her. Regardless of what is going on with her life, we constantly remind our kids their birth family loves them. We have chosen to speak only the truth to our children about their birth families, but to speak with love.
My husband’s mom and dad divorced when he was really young. One of the things that hurt my husband more than the divorce was how they spoke about one another. The words and accusations against each other left a mark on my husband. Even though his parents were no longer married, it didn’t change the fact that they would always be his mom and dad.
When going through the adoption process with our daughter, the social worker emphasized to us how important it was to tell our child the truth about her birth story; how important it was to not talk badly about her birth mom. Sure, she would probably make decisions we did not agree with, but that was okay. Most of the birth moms that placed with the agencies we went through, had hard lives, were young, and had other children. Both of our birth moms fit into that category.
We did not have the chance to meet our son’s birth mom, or to find out much about her. We did know she was on drugs, because my son had drugs in his system after birth. For a long time I was very angry about this. I was angry for a lot of things she did. We will never know all of it, though, because she never went to a prenatal visit. She left our son at the hospital right after he was born. Her life was complete chaos.
I was mad at her. How was I going to tell my son about his birth mom? For a long time I could not think of anything nice to say about her. Then I was reminded of how my husband felt as a child, when his parents didn’t have anything nice to say about one another. I did not want my son to go through that; my husband and I speaking negatively about his birth mom. We cannot take away the fact she did give birth to him. She will always be a big part of his life.
As my son grew older, I started to forgive his mother for the all the wrong she did. After all, she did take him to a hospital. She did call the agency and decide to place her baby for adoption. She did choose life for her baby.
You may have a hard time finding something good to say about your child’s birth mom. You may even be angry at her for some choices she has made. I ask that you find forgiveness for the sake of your child. Your words may be the only way he will ever get to know his birth family. It is going to be hard, especially if there was neglect and abuse. But in the long run, I believe it will matter to your child if you chose to love their birth family.