Adoption is the sum of three parts – adoptive parents, birth parents and a child. Though many adoptive parents have the priviledge to be in an open adoption with lots of ongoing communication, others may not. And even when birth and adoptive parents have strong bonds, some things may be left unsaid.
Here are six things we've heard birth parents express over and over again. Some are straight forward. Others are complicated. Just like life.
- This was my choice, but it's hard to talk about. I know in my heart adoption was the best thing to do for my child and myself. But sometimes I worry about what others think. That's why I don't often talk about it. I’m proud of my choice, but most people in my life don't even know it happened. This adds a strange layer of stress onto my life. Like when someone casually asks if I have any children and I stop for a minute before answering.
- I wonder how my child will understand adoption. I want the world for this child, that's why I chose you to be his parents. But I wonder how he will understand this part of himself. I never want him to feel lesser than anyone else.
- Choosing adoption was one of the hardest decisions I have ever made. Even though I knew this was a good choice for all involved, it was heart wrenching, too. And that bittersweet reality is what adoption will always mean to me.
- We have an entire lifetime to work on our relationship. As with any relationship, ours will have its high's and low's. If things don’t go exactly as planned, please try to understand. I will try, too.
- I know you went through a lot to get here, too. Yours was not an easy road to parenthood. I get that. And it brings me such profound joy to see your dedication to parenting. It reassures me that I made a good choice.
- I still worry. Even though I know I did the right thing, I still worry. Even though I think you are terrific parents, I still worry. It's complicated. The best I can express it is this: I worry that somehow in some way the child we all love to pieces may have a shred of doubt about me. I worry that he may resent me for having placed him for adoption. This worry can get in my way sometimes, but it doesn't mean I doubt you as parents. It just means I may be looking for reassurance.
How do these points strike you? Anything surprise you? Anything you'd like to add?
This is part of a series of posts addressing birth parent and adoptive parent relationships. The other pieces are Three more things birthparents want adoptive parents to know", followed by "Adoption and birth siblings: advice for parents."