One of the many things required of you during the adoption process is to attend adoption education classes. There are certain classes I encourage all my clients to attend and one of them, if they are lucky enough to come across one, is a birth mother panel.
You may have heard of people referring to the triad in adoption, which includes the adoptive parent(s), the child, and the birth mother. It’s the relationship between the adoptive parent(s) and birth mother that seems to invoke the most trepidation…the fear of the unknown and the what-ifs.
Sitting with birth mothers who have been through the process already can sometimes help remove a bit of the fear, in order to approach the relationship from a place of love.
Everyone’s story and background is completely different (goes without saying, I think). To read Jennifer’s story, click here.
Here’s a snapshot of Dina, a birth mother (I’ve changed her name)…
Who She Is And How It Happened
Dina was just 16 years old
She had a boyfriend
Never expected to get pregnant
But didn’t realize it for 5 months
She was in complete denial.
Dina became depressed and hid it from her parents for as long as she could, with baggy sweatshirts and the like, until finally she could not hide it anymore. Telling her parents was one of the hardest moments of her life. Thankfully, they were supportive and helped guide her to the decision to make an adoption plan.
Choosing The Right Family
Dina felt a tremendous amount of guilt when she was presented profiles to look through. How could she decide who should be the parents to her child?
This felt like such an adult decision, so she tried to be one as best she could. Dina remembers not wanting to show any emotion as she looked through profiles.
Here’s how she broke it down…
➢ Browse the pictures first.
➢ Narrow down to people with dogs (she has fond memories of growing up with a dog herself).
➢ Choose parents (she wanted a couple) without children. Dina is an only child, so siblings were not important to her.
➢ Discard perfection! She wasn’t looking for the “perfect” family.
She reminisces about the couple she chose…the adoptive father talked about who he was as a kid and the mother had a really warm face.
(Note to those of you creating your profiles – while this is a great guideline to keep in mind, every expectant mom will have different characteristics that resonate with her, so be true to yourself!)
Everyone was nervous.
Dina loved seeing that they were just as nervous as she was.
She loved their “realness.”
The Delivery & Beyond
Some birth mothers want the adoptive parent(s) in the room for delivery, and yet for others, it’s too personal. Dina was very clear that “it was their child, but my body.” She wanted the privacy during delivery.
Throughout the entire process, she felt “seen” as a person and felt very respected by the adoptive parents she had chosen.
It was important for Dina that she have a private moment with her son before he left and also for her to watch her baby physically leave the hospital. She had to watch the car drive out of site. This is what Dina needed for closure.
Dina cried hard! But she was still sure about everything.
Dina’s son is now 9 and she has an open adoption with her son’s parents.
Although she is not in very regular communication with the adoptive family and her son, they are part of each other’s lives.
Dina recalled a time when she received a call from her son’s parents. He had become very ill and was in the hospital. They invited her to be there. Her mom and her ran!
At the hospital, there was a moment when the parents had to go talk to their son’s doctors and asked Dina to stay with him. The baby started crying hysterically, but Dina had never been alone or held the baby since he was born. Nurses came running and suggested that Dina hold the baby…with a bit of nervousness and hesitation, the nurse placed her son in her arms…and he immediately stopped crying. It was a surreal moment for Dina and one that solidified her relationship with her son’s family.
Dina’s son is healthy today. ☺
As time goes on, sometimes we, as adoptive parents, don’t want to tell our birth mothers too much in fear of hurting their feelings or somehow making them feel bad. Dina reiterated that communication is key. She spoke for the other two birth mothers on the panel and said that they love hearing what is happening in their child’s life. And if nothing else, it reiterates to them that they made the right decision for their child!
…To read about Lena, the 3rd story of a birth mother in my series, sign up below for my email list and it will be sent to your inbox!
Until next time,