When most women give birth, their child stays with them in their home. They grow up right under their noses and develop bonds that often draw them back even after they leave the nest. But for birth mothers, it’s a vastly different experience. For some birth mothers, it’s like ripping off a band aid; they give birth and leave the hospital empty-handed. For some others, they have the joy of spending some time together, building a relationship, then feel the pain of separation. But none of this means for certain that the distance will be permanent.

Open adoptions have become much more common in recent years. The notion that a birth mother will never see her child again is over-dramatized in media and greater Hollywood. So, there is a bright, silver lining to adoption! This is where it gets interesting, though. When a birth mother chooses a family in which to place her child, she ultimately is choosing the distance between herself and her child.

If you, as a birth mother, want to be a big part of your child’s life, an open adoption with a family in close proximity is ideal. This was my experience. One of my three criteria was that my son be close to me. I ended up finding the right family for him, and he would only be an hour away by car. For some, a bit farther away is still perfectly fine. A several-hour road trip can be fun!

However, there are definitely those who end up with a great deal of distance between each other. Such was the case of a friend of mine whose daughter was placed with a family in Idaho when she lived in California. That’s not exactly a stop-in-for-the-weekend kind of trip. She only saw her daughter a few times a year, but was okay with maintaining separate, yet connected, lives.

Whatever you choose is ultimately up to you. It’s a preference you choose for the time being, but do know it may escape your grasp should the adoptive family decide to move. If that were ever to happen, you could also choose to move closer to them. But let’s go back to my friend briefly. After her daughter was about five, she ended up spending more time in Idaho, and eventually moved out there. On the other hand, I chose to be close to my son initially, but now that I have my own little family, we’ve made the decision to follow work for my husband, and move halfway across the country from my son.

What I’m trying to convey is that you can temporarily control how close you are to your child and their family, but over time, it’ll take more big decision-making to remain that way. I would recommend considering the relationship you build with your child more than the space between the two of you. I know I didn’t consider this ever happening when I placed my son, but looking back over the last five years near him, I’m just happy I got to spend as much time with him as I did, and that I got to be here long enough for him to know who I am. He knows I love him, and that I’ll be there for him when he needs me. It’s not what I expected, but it’s more than I could have ever asked for. I can only hope you make the choices that bond you and your birth child not just physically, but emotionally.

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