I have fielded countless numbers of calls from adult adoptees who are seeking to reconnect with their birth mothers. I act as an intermediary between the adoptee and the birth parent they are hoping to reunite with. I always ask them what is the one thing that you need me to tell your birth mother (in case they don’t get the opportunity to do it themselves I always tell the birth mother exactly what they tell me). Do you know what the most common answer is? “Tell her thank you and I love her even if she isn’t able to meet me now, I still want her to know that. I can’t imagine what she went through to give me a chance at life. It must have been so hard.”
When we train pre-adoptive families one of the items we talk about is how they feel about birth parents who relinquish a child for adoption. We talk about the strength and selflessness it takes for a woman to make a loving adoption plan for her child and how we can best honor her. They are trained to understand that the child’s perception of their birth parent (as modeled for them by adoptive families) will affect the child’s own self-worth.
If a birth mother chooses an open relationship with the adoptive family, then the child will know their birth mother throughout their childhood and will have a strong understanding about why a loving adoption plan was made.
Adoption agencies go to great lengths to ensure the safety of the children they place. That process starts through a pre-adoptive investigation, also called a home study. The home study process is mandated by each state and all topics it must include. Applicants are fingerprinted for national FBI checks, local criminal checks and child abuse checks in every state they have resided in since turning age 18. Sexual offender registries are checked. Families must show they have proper financial resources, appropriate housing, personal references, and their health must be approved by a doctor before proceeding. The strength of the marriage is also assessed.
During the home study process a great deal of education is given to the family about the process o
f adoption including one on one training, DVD’s, on-line education and book assignments.
This is likely the most difficult of the fears. The pain and loss are very real and no matter how a birth mother might try to shut it out by not seeing or holding her baby, the pain is still there. In my opinion, the birth mothers who are most successful in coping with the loss that adoption brings do the following: