The dance of maintaining a relationship with your child’s birth mother can be one fraught with turmoil for adoptive parents. But if both sides of the equation can remember one thing, it is that this unique relationship can be a blessing to everyone. I am referring to respect. If the birth mom and adoptive parents can be gracious in their interactions, the child will be much more secure.
While every adoption triad will vary in what works for them, here are some examples of how the adoptive family can show respect to their child’s birth mom:
- Honor the fact that the birth mom will always hold a portion of your child’s heart and you shouldn’t feel threatened by that fact.
- Send her updates, photos, videos etc. Share the funny comments your child is making as he or she learns to talk.
- Have your child sing Happy Birthday to the birth mom. You can either record it, FaceTime, or call directly.
- Invite your child’s birth mom to important events: birthday parties, Kindergarten graduation, sports events etc.
- Speak kindly and positively to your child about his or her birth mom.
- Assure the birth mom that her child loves her. Talk freely and openly about the adoption process so your child can feel secure in your love for him or her. Assure your child that it is okay to love his or her birth mom.
- Assure the birth mom that you do not condemn her for her decision to place her child for adoption and share your feelings about adoption with her.
- Ask the birth mom for advice if you have a question regarding the customs of the child’s nationality or if there is something in his or her life that she finds concerning. She may be able to speak wisdom into the situation.
- Thank the birth mom for making an effort to maintain a relationship with her child.
Here are some ways the birth family can encourage a relationship with the adoptive family:
- Acknowledge that the adoptive parents are your child’s mom and dad and, as a result, have the final say in parenting the child.
- Encourage the child to love and obey the adoptive parents.
- Let the adoptive parents know what boundaries you’re comfortable with. Some months may be harder than others, and you may need distance. Tell them that.
Respect often boils down to communication and understanding. Remember that a relationship is a living thing; it needs to be cared for in order to flourish.
What other ways can adoptive and birth parents foster a healthy relationship?