Birth Mothers Experience: 9 Things We Want Adoptive Parents To Know About Us

The relationship between adoptive parents and birth parents can be very difficult to navigate. Although both sets of parents are going through this journey together, they come from different perspectives. Finding common ground can help break down barriers and provide a better understanding of each other’s experiences. We spoke with mothers who placed with Adoption Network about what they want adoptive parents to know about their birth mother experience.

Birth mothers experience a lot of the same emotions that adoptive parents do

Adoption is a very human experience filled with uncertainties and unknowns. While adoptive parents may feel nervous about the journey ahead, birth mothers often feel nervous and scared too. The first step towards building a respectful relationship is to give grace to each other. A birth mother’s life experiences may cause her to make decisions in her own time and in her own way. Patience and understanding can go a long way in helping a birth mother build a trusting relationship with her child’s adoptive parents.

Birth mothers can sense when adoptive parents are being genuine

Birth mothers are trying their best to create a solid, loving, and stable future for their child. They are first mothers and they listen to their mother’s intuition. Birth mothers are trusting adoptive parents to share who they really are and what their real lives look like. Birth mothers can feel when adoptive parents genuinely care about them and their well-being.

Birth mothers, and their stories, are all different

Adoptive parents may have friends or family members who have adopted or have adoption in their lives already. Each adoption experience and situation are different from each other. Birth mothers are individuals with their own stories, backgrounds, hopes, and dreams. The best relationships with birth mothers are ones where there are no preconceived notions or expectations. Birth mothers are women first, and they want you to know them and see them beyond their role of birth mother.

Birth mothers may want alone time with the baby

Birth mothers are individuals with their own ways of processing their emotions. Giving birth to a child and making the decision to place them is deeply emotional. Birth mothers deserve the space and privacy they need to say goodbye. This can be a necessary and healthy step in a birth mother’s grieving process, and it is not always a red flag.

Be patient with birth mothers

For adoptive parents, this adoption journey may be the only thing taking up emotional space in their lives. For a birth mother, this adoption journey may be one of a million things that she is trying to process. An adoption plan is one place where a birth mother has control in making deliberate decisions. Allow her time and patience if she doesn’t immediately respond to questions or requests. There may be many chapters in her story that are taking place right now, and she is doing the best she can for her baby’s future.

An adoptive parent’s greatest gain is also a birth mother’s greatest loss

Birth mothers make their adoption plans with their child’s best interests in mind. Yet, it can be emotional for birth mothers to realize that the future they dream of will be provided by adoptive parents instead. The most joyous time in an adoptive parent’s life is also the most heartbreaking time in a birth mother’s.

Birth mothers need space

It is nothing personal. The reality of a birth mother’s situation may become too overwhelming to confront at times. Sometimes, birth mothers need space and time to focus on something other than their adoption. It doesn’t mean that they aren’t thinking of their child or turning away from their adoption plan. It doesn’t mean that they are angry with adoptive parents.  Taking a break is a healthy form of self-care.  Healing is an ebbing and flowing process. Birth mothers will come back around when they are ready.

Birth mothers do not want to co-parent

Open and semi-open adoption is often misunderstood as co-parenting. Birth mothers choose adoption for their child because they do not feel like they are able to parent at this time in their lives. That doesn’t mean that birth mothers don’t care how their child is doing. In an open or semi-open adoption plan, they still would like to see updates. Birth mothers often find peace in seeing how their decisions were the right choice for them. Open and semi-open adoption does not mean that a birth mother will want her baby back.

Birth mothers still miss their children

Even during an open or semi-open adoption, birth mothers may need time and space to heal. Not asking for updates or being less communicative does not mean that birth mothers have forgotten about their children. They are processing in their own ways, and always miss and think of their children.

Adoption Network is always grateful to hear about the individual experiences of our birth mothers. As you can see, navigating a relationship between adoptive parents and birth mothers is filled with emotions and takes patience and understanding. Both adoptive parents and birth mothers receive hands-on help and advice from dedicated Adoption Network team members. You don’t have to navigate the adoption journey alone, whether you are hoping to adopt or considering placing your child. We are here to listen, educate, and lean on at any stage of your adoption journey.

Written by Jason Granillo

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