Thursday, August 22, 2013

Dear Adoptive Mom [What Birth Parents Wish You Knew]

Let's be clear from the gate. I'm not a birth mother. I've never made an adoption plan. I don't personally know what it feels like to walk the journey of an unexpected pregnancy and know I'm not in a season to parent. But I have worked for years with birth families. I've sat with them in coffee shops, cried with them in doctors appointments, and been by their side in labor and delivery rooms.

I've been with them as they look through profile books of adoptive families, taking in every picture and detail about a family to see if they are a good fit to raise their child.

I've been with them for that first meeting; meeting the adoptive family they've chosen. The awkward conversation at first that then gives way to a bond beginning to weave two families for a lifetime through a child.

I've been with them when it's time to say goodbye in the hospital. When they place their newborn baby into the arm of another family and walk out with their own arms empty.

I've been with them when they look at picture updates and plan for the park date as they watch their baby that used to be so close she could reach down and feel them at any moment grow up miles away from her touch now.

And through it all, there is much that's almost always unspoken. Words too heavy and too much to say in these life events that are almost too much to bear in the moment.

But always, always, her heart is saying something like this:

I don't want you to think I'm one of  "those" girls.
Although there are many stereotypes about birth mothers, every situation is unique. Not every birth mother is a drug user who doesn't know who the birth father is. Not every birth mother is a teenage girl. And I've never met a birth mother who doesn't care about her child and their life. She is a mother who has run into a hard season to parent. She is strong and brave and selfless.

This has been the hardest choices I've ever had to make.
This isn't something she's come to lightly. There have been sleepless nights, body-wracking sobs, and maybe even fights with a boyfriend or family to choose life for her little one. There have been endless conversations with well-meaning friends and even strangers trying to talk her out of "giving her baby away." While other pregnant mamas are creating labor and delivery plans, decorating a nursery, and counting the days till they meet their baby, she is counting the days till she has to say goodbye.

I want you to know I chose you to be their mother.
Chances are, she's looked at several profiles of families to parent her child. She's labored over her decision to make an adoption plan and looked for hours at families. She's thought through the kind of life she wants her baby to have. She's noted your kind smile, the way your husband describes you on paper, and the way you made her feel when you first met. And now, after choosing you, she has chosen to share her title of mother.

I love this baby we now share with all my heart.
It's because of this amazing, selfless love, that she has chosen adoption. And this love is the same as all mothers. The kind that dreams dreams for our children, longs to protect them, and prays for all they will become. Her love is fierce, often protecting her child from the kind of life she doesn't want for them and sacrificing much in hopes they will be cared for in ways she can't offer at this time in her life.

I want my baby to know I love them.
A birth mother fears in her quiet moments that she will be forgotten. That as your child's first mother she won't be spoken of at all in your home. In the end, she wants her child to know all of the above as well. She wants her child to know they were wanted. They were loved. And they are loved and thought of and prayed for every day, even years down the road.


  1. this is beautiful and very helpful, as we prepare for our profile to be shown to birthmothers, and for that first meeting. Thank u!

  2. This is wonderful, Susan -- and SO very true! We love our sweet daughter's birth momma, and there are no words to express what it's like to be trusted and chosen by her.

  3. as a brithmother myself i wish my childs adoptive mother couldve read this. people dont realize how hard it is until theyve gone through it or witnessed someone go through it. its like losing a child, but you have to do whats best for them.

    1. Amber - thank you so much for commenting! Although I don't know you, I already have immense respect and honor for you knowing your incredible and brave sacrifice...

  4. I am a 47 year old birthmotger who made the difficult but hopeful decision to give my daughter to a wonderful family twelve years ago. I have lost both my parents..but no loss was as painful as walking out of the hospital without my daughter in my arms. I have a wonderful open adoption arrangement with the family I chose and am so blessed. But not a day goes by that I don't think of my daughter..and the last point about me wanting her to know how wanted she was speaks my truth. Thank you for writing this and thanks to all who share this..especially so close to mothers day.

    1. Oh thank you so much for sharing! I'm so thankful to hear you share an open adoption that is a blessing!


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