Wednesday, February 7, 2018

If I Could Say One Thing...About Expectant and Birth Families

There is so much for a hopeful adoptive family to consider during the adoption process. Where do we start? Can we afford it? What can we expect? Inevitably, one of the most common questions (along with fears and concerns) come about the expectant and birth families. (An important note: Expectant parents are people considering an adoption plan for the child, birth parents have made an adoption child and placed the child for adoption.)

So, I asked adoptive families their thoughts on expectant and birth families. I love their insightful, honest, and surprising answers.

They’ve become a treasured extension of our family.  - Meg

It won't always be perfect. There will be ups and downs.  - Jennifer

Try to remember that as much as this is a joyous occasion for your family, for them it's a day of loss.  - Melissa

Let them in. They are entrusting you with their flesh and blood. Developing a relationship based on trust is key. Remember that after placement there may be ebbs and flows in the relationship. Continue to reach out but be mindful of their need for space and grieving.  - Lisa

At first we weren’t sure about having a relationship with our daughters birth mom but now we treasure her and more than anything to have contact. We have a semi open adoption by birth mom’s choice and have little contact. We treasure each time we hear from her, even if it’s only a one word response.  - Kendra

Our love runs deeper than we had imagined. Sometimes peoples' comments and questions about our son's birth mom feel rude and ignorant. It's tempting to become angry and defensive. We try so hard, albeit imperfectly, to use those opportunities to teach people about how brave and loving a birth parent is, hopefully slowly breaking the stereotypes that exist.  - Sarah

They are to be respected and honored, no. matter. what. They are their child's parent too, it just looks and plays out differently.  - Natalie

If I could say one thing it would be the absolute shock at how deeply and absolutely we love our birth mom. No strings attached- just crazy love. I expected to have some feelings of respect and maybe thankfulness but the love I have for her is infinite. I would protect her with my life. For reference we have a semi open relationship.  - Christy

The relationship may change throughout the years. Contact and openness may not always be consistent, or what you planned or hoped for. They deserve respect, privacy, and more than anything love. Their story is not yours to tell to the public, and their life may not be what others would assume. Protect them just as you would your own family, for truly they are just an extension of it.  - Amy

God works in their hearts to bring them to adoption just like He does for adopting families. For an expectant parent to entrust a stranger with part of themselves is nothing short of a miracle. God has His hands all over every adoption situation on both sides. Our son’s birth mother prayed for signs that she should place him and told us how those prayers were answered. We will never forget the conversations we had with her before he was born. We are fortunate enough to have continued an open relationship, but there is something special about the time we shared together before he had arrived.  - Kacie

They [adoptive families and birth families] have a lot in common - and they are both worried that the other party won’t like them.  - Mimi

From a couple who initially was uncomfortable with the idea of an open situation and now would only consider open adoption: God can explode your family circle overnight to include your child’s extended birth family in an amazing and powerful way. They can be your and your child’s biggest advocates and cheerleaders; they will laugh, cry, and love your little one fiercely with you. To quote one of our attorneys: you can never have too many grandparents - it’s so true! The more members of your child’s birth family you can get to know and welcome into his/her life the better. And keep welcoming them in over time with pictures, texts, notes, updates, requests for advice. Many birth family members will feel a little insecure at some point about reaching out to you or have the sense that you want to ‘move on’ without them. But you will all be exponentially blessed by true, lasting relationship formed around a common love for that child.  - Laura

For more in this series:

If I Could Say One Thing...About Beginning the Adoption Process

If I Could Say One Thing...About the Cost of Adoption

If I Could Say One Thing...About the Adoption Home Study

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