Thursday, November 6, 2008

Relating Well to Your Birthmother

I got this great information from our adoption agency at our parenting class and thought it was worth sharing.

The birthmother retains her rights as an individual and can make choices for herself and her child as she wishes until such time as she relinquishes her parental rights. That means that the agency, her caseworker, or the adoptive parents cannot dictate what she eats, doesn't eat, uses, doesn't use, whether or not she attends doctor's appointments or adoptive appointments. Sh will determine her birthing plan, whether or not to use medication or have a C-section, whether and how long she will see the baby. She cannot be made to do anything she does not choose to do.

Prepare a letter for your birthmother to take home with her from the hospital which tells her how you feel about the baby, about the opportunity to become parents, about her, your wishes for her.

Even when a birthmother does not plan her adoption ahead of time and has the baby before a plan is in place, it is usually due to fear and ignorance about her options related to adoption. It should not be interpreted as not caring about the child or the child's future. Sometimes it is fear about the child and the child's future that has kept her immobilized.

An occasional phone call during each of the first two to three months from the adoptive parents to the birthmother is particularly helpful in putting the birthmother's mind at ease. Parting with a helpless infant is hard and it helps so much to receive a quick little update that the baby is eating well, sleeping, gaining weight, etc. If you are not set up to have direct phone contact with your birthmother, you can give the update to your caseworker and it can be relayed.

Resist the temptation to view your birthmother as a "means to an end." She is a person with a heart, a soul, with needs, hurts, hopes, challenges, dreams and fears.

Risk trusting your birthmother, she is risking trusting you.

She is trusting you with her child, do not violate her trust as failing to provide her what you've promised in terms of letters, pictures, phone calls, or visits.

Regard and tenderness toward the birthmother tends to transfer into regard and tenderness for the child, especially when there are reminders of the birthmother. Disregard or a lack of tenderness toward the birthmother tends to translate into disregard or lack of tenderness in some aspects of caring for the child, especially when there are reminders of the birthmother.

Often a birthparent's greatest fear is that the child they place for adoption will grow up hating them. Always speak kindly and respectfully about your child's birthparents. Otherwise your child will suffer untold torment.



Bri said...

This is great info. It is interesting how so many people not immersed in this do not understand how we wouldn't tuck the baby under our arm and run. What is even funnier is how I used to be that way, too. The trust thing is really a good point. And respect. Our birth mother (whomever, wherever she may be), is going to give us the greatest gift on earth and making the most difficult decision imaginiable in her situation. How could we not trust her and respect her? I like this and I am going to save it!

Becky said...

All great, and true, information and advice!

Melba said...

This is wonderful advice, thanks for passing it along!

Debbie B said...

Great list. One thing I'll add about the phone calls. We were told that when you go home with the baby from the hospital or wherever that it is very nice to give the birthmom a call to let her know that you made it home safe and the baby is doing just fine. It's just that first drive home that she might want to know about.

The bit about trusting her is very important too. It can be hard depending on what she has done in her past to trust but it is an absolute must.