As you all my know I often base my posts or struggles I notice while working with some of my birth mothers. This month's post is no different. One of my favorite clients is negotiating an open adoption relationship. At one point I asked her what do you think this is like for the adoptive parents? My client sat back a little dazed and couldn't find the words to answer me. This got me to thinking that in times of grief one may often become too focused on their sadness and ignore the feelings of those around them. So I've decided to post the other side of the story.
One adoptive parent described her story, “When he asked about where babies come from I took advantage of the opportunity to tell him that ladies have babies, and, I added, "Usually when a lady has a baby she brings the baby home and is his mother; but sometimes if a lady knows she doesn't know how to be a mother or can't take care of a baby the right way she may ask another lady to be the baby's mother." This was my story, and I stuck to it for a good, long, time. I reasoned, that to have an open arrangement with this biological mother, would put a face on someone who was not to him, at that time, more than a story.
I also worried, that having an open adoption situation where the biological mother visited or called and where pictures were sent on a regular basis would make an adoption feel like unpaid foster care, was that all I was, a caretaker for someone else’s child? While I admired the golden curls he had inherited from one of the biological parents, I worried about that this little boy might never love me like he will love his birth mother.
They say that loss is always involved in adoption—to the birth parent, the loss of the placed child; to the adopted child, the loss of the first parents and of one’s own biological roots; to the adoptive parent, the loss of the biological child who might have been. But only the first two of these are strictly adoption-related losses: Had George and I never adopted, we still would have experienced the loss of our biological children. We knew that having an open adoption would ultimately benefit our son but I had only a vague notion of how it might be good for us. It seemed to be a constant reminder of my flaws, the fact that I was incapable of having children of my own.
I think back to a movie I once saw…a story of two mothers one mother explained this very complex relationship, this child can have us both, love us both and he will be a better person because of me and because of you.