My 4 year old wants to meet her birth mom.
It came. The question I thought I would have a couple of years to prepare myself for came. While in the car, my 4 year old daughter expressed a desire to meet her birth mom. At bedtime a few days later she said her birth mother probably had to think really hard about which family would be right for her. She continued on to say that her birth mother picked the right family for her! That made me feel great! Then she asked again if she could meet her birth mom one day, and if we could stay for a while like a vacation. I was glad that she was inviting our family to go on this journey with her.
My daughter always asks questions and thinks of things that a lot of kids her age don’t, but I didn’t expect this question yet. I probably should have anticipated this as she has been asking a lot of adoption questions lately. The first time she asked, I told her that we could visit her birth mom, but she lived really far away so we couldn’t go that day like she requested. She then responded with, “Well, my head is ready to visit her but my body isn’t.” She explained that 14 hours was just too much for her body to handle! Oh the minds of children! The second time she asked, I told her that we could visit her but I wasn’t sure when. My daughter said, “Well why don’t we write her a letter until we can visit her? Let’s write it tomorrow.”
As an adoptive parent, you are never truly your child’s only mother.
I don’t know how other adoptive parents feel, but when it comes to questions like this, I have mixed emotions. I am happy my daughter wants to know where she came from. She is starting to understand adoption and look at it in a positive light. However, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to having a little bit of sadness too. I’ve learned that emotion is okay. As an adoptive parent, you are never truly your child’s only mother. It’s just how it is. Yet, most of the time you feel like the only Mommy because that’s what you are from day to day. Moments like this with my daughter remind me that I am not her only mother—and that can be hard to swallow.
I think what makes it easier for me is how much my daughter loves me. Listening to her talk and ask questions is a great way for our relationship to grow, and also build a relationship with her birth family as well. Another emotion I felt was fear—fear of the unknown. We have tried to maintain some sort of contact with her birth mother, but it hasn’t really worked. She is either super interested in contact on her terms or seems to disappear for years. Now, with our daughter asking to meet her, we feel like we don’t know her at all. That can be scary. It is important to us to continue trying to build a stronger bond with her birth mother so that we can know her and help our daughter build a relationship with her. My biggest worry is that my daughter will get her heart broken by something her birth mother says or does (i.e. not responding to her letter).
When done correctly, open or semi-open adoption can be beneficial.
For now we are taking baby steps. The first was my daughter dictating a letter to me to send to her birth mother. Her first sentence was, “I love you.” The letter included questions about her favorite color, if she had any pets, and what my daughter’s half-brother liked to do. It was short and sweet. She helped me choose pictures of herself to send with it. I wrote captions on the back of each picture. I am thinking of writing my own letter to see if she would be willing to start more regular contact. I pray that she writes back to my daughter at least. I know that it may be hard for her so I hope she is comfortable being open and honest about what kind of relationship she is willing to have with us.
Ahh! That scares me just a bit! When my husband and I started our adoption journey, I never dreamed of being so open. I have since learned that when done correctly, open or semi-open adoption can be beneficial for all involved. Many adult adoptees have reassured me that no matter what kind of relationship they have or want to have with their biological families, they still view their adoptive parents as Mom and Dad. That is comforting to a worrywart adoptive mom! I’m always living and learning. Now we just have to wait and see what the next step in our journey will be.