Why You Owe it to Your Child to Let Go of Your Birth Mom Guilt

Writing as an adoptee who has recently found his birth parents, I urge birth moms to let go of their guilt for the following reasons.

Stephan Petryczka November 28, 2017
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The connection linking a child to their mother is the most important human relationship there is. Any mother knows that relinquishing their responsibilities to their child is going to have an impact on that child’s outcome, but there is no way to prepare herself for the grief and guilt she will feel after terminating her parental rights – even when she is certain that adoption was the best choice for her child.

Imagine this: you spend 9 months creating a child, go through the pains of giving birth to them, and ultimately decide that you will can’t take care of them. Some people associate negative, accusatory feelings with birth moms. How could they, right? But the truth is that the guilt from giving away your child is likely to change the trajectory of your life, just as you are about to change that of your child’s.

Writing as an adoptee who has recently found his birth parents, I urge birth moms to let go of their guilt for the following reasons:

We love you and we always will.

Some adoptees know, some do not know, and some may never know whom their birth parents are. All the same, we all know you gave us this life and no one else could have done so.

We want you to be happy.

We want you to be happy, just as we know you want us to be happy. No one wishes for others to be miserable, especially over actions and decisions that may not have been your own.

Letting go can lead to healing.

Letting go also makes reunions easier. For example, I could see right through my birth mom when I met her this summer. She could barely look me in the eye, and I knew it was because she assumed I hated her for what she had done. Did it hurt to think about the fact that I was meeting her for the first time at twenty-five years old? Sure did. But were we ever going to move on if she continued harboring massive guilt? Probably not. There is nothing you can do to undo the past. There is only an opportunity to move forward, together.

We want you to be strong.

If your child reaches out to you, it’s because they want you in their lives. There may be some hard realities to face and difficult conversations to have, but it only gets better. Parents and children have so much to learn from each other.

You will always be (one of) their parents

And their role model. And whether or not you are up to the task, it is your job to be the bigger person and step up to the plate when the time comes. Someone needs to initiate the healing and forgiveness process. We know it’s not going to be easy for you but it hasn’t been easy for us either, and we may need some help.

If you want to begin your search for your birth family, visit the new adoption information website with adoption training.

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Stephan Petryczka

Stephan was born in Ukraine, adopted by an American family, and raised outside of New York City. After meeting with his biological family last summer, he has taken steps toward becoming involved in the greater adoptee and orphan service communities. Stephan recently began coordinating programs for the FRUA young adult group. He is currently studying for his Master's of Urban Planning at New York University.

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