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The Birthmother Experience: How Do Birth Mothers Feel Seeing Pictures and Receiving Updates of Their Child?

First visit after placing

How Do Birth Mothers Feel Seeing Pictures and Receiving Updates of Their Child

How Do Birth Mothers Feel NOT Seeing Pictures and Receiving Updates of Their Child (next week)

Open adoption has so many components to it, and if we are being honest, IT’S SCARY. While I can only imagine the fears and worries adoptive parents might experience when starting their open adoption journey, I can tell you from my personal experience that having openness is what has reaffirmed my decision over and over and over again.

I think the number one fear I have heard from adoptive parents over the years is, “What if she sees the baby and then wants him/her back?” And while I can’t guarantee that there are not birth parents out there that might feel that way, I would say the overwhelming majority don’t. In fact receiving updates and seeing my birth daughter has had the opposite effect on me and many other birth parents.

I vividly remember my first visit with my birth daughter and her parents after leaving the hospital. I was so nervous about how I would feel seeing her and holding her. I honestly was afraid I would want to take her back. I remember holding her and talking with her parents and genuinely enjoying the time we were spending together. Then it was time for them to go. After they left my mom asked me how I felt and I said, “Actually Mom, this is the most at peace I have ever felt with my decision.” It was the first time that I 100% felt like I had made the best decision for her. I got to witness them doting over her and fighting about who would GET to change her diaper (not HAVE to change it). She had two amazing and loving parents who were there for her every need. It was exactly what I wanted for her. Exactly what she deserved.

Over the years as our openness has grown, seeing her laughing and smiling and thriving is what reassures me every time that I made the right decision. When I get pictures of her smiling on vacation in Europe I get so excited that she is getting the chance to travel the world. I see the beautiful life she is living with endless opportunities that I could not have provided her, and I am so happy that she has that. That’s all I ever wanted for her. Now, again, I wouldn’t want to lead you to believe that there aren’t times when I see her pictures or get updates that don’t make me sad or make me miss her. That definitely happens too. But then, not too long after the sadness, I am reminded that she is living her very best life and that is because of my decision.

Here are some things that other birth mothers have said about seeing pictures and receiving updates about their child.

“It makes me feel so happy that he’s growing and enjoying life with his family. I have an open adoption but sometimes the pictures are fewer than before. And I’m ok with that, because I know he’s living life. But sad sometimes because I wonder if his parents ever think of the hospital experience or of me or my daughters.” – Cedia O.

“At first it was very hard to see and now, after 5 years, I look at my son and am shocked at how big he got and the crazy things he’s doing, and then I get happy and realize it was the best thing for him.” – Jessica G.

“My daughter went to an amazing couple who sent pics and updates allllll the time. I felt as if I really knew my daughter from a distance. I love them both to the moon and love hearing about their life together....” – Darcee C.

Openness is scary and it is a huge unknown. We get it. BUT openness and updates can be the difference between your birth mother healing or not. It can be the difference between your birth mother feeling reassured, or spending the rest of her life wondering if she made the right decision. This woman has given you her everything and in return has asked for a few pictures and updates throughout the years. And when put in that perspective, it seems like a reasonable request. So if you don’t want to do it for yourself, do it for your birth mother, the woman who entrusted you with the most precious gift she has to give. It can make a bigger difference than you could ever imagine.

Author: Ali D.