What IDoes It Really Feel Like when your Child Reunifies With Their Birth Mom (For Me)

adoptive mom   To take on the legal responsibilities as parent of (a child that is not one’s biological child). That’s the legal definition of adoption..which is so far from the feelings I have as a mom. The minute I laid eyes on all 4 of our children I was in LOVE and I was to be their warrior, their protector, their nurse, their guide through life, That’s what a mom is right? Then why so many times do I get asked..Where is their REAL mom? Aren’t you afraid their REAL mom will come take them..Aren’t you afraid they will want to go back to their REAL mom one day? Why do people think your not a REAL mom when you have adopted? I think an even better question would be..why do people think it’s okay to ask these questions. I know that as adoptive mom’s we are always qualifying who we are, we apologize for not having a birth story, we are always working a little harder to be a better mom.
I’ve always known that my children had another woman in their lives..it would just be a matter of time when and/or if they would have a relationship with them. Our children’s birth moms have ALWAYS had an open invitation to be part of our children’s lives. We have lived in the same community since our children were born and have the same telephone numbers. For reasons of their own each of them chose not to be present. Our oldest son’s birth mom contacted him through Social Media when he was 16. We were able to connect with our twins birth mom through their sister, although she (sister) encouraged us not to because of her lifestyle..but I felt it was important for the boys as adults to know who she was, and let them make their own choices. Our youngest has not met her birth mom yet, and after meeting a sister and hearing how chaotic her life still is our daughter has decided to wait. Our oldest son has encouraged her to wait as well, after his experience.
As an adoption professional I know that offering the opportunity for our children to have a relationship with their birth families is important. Some kids want this and some don’t. Some birth moms want a relationship some don’t. Just like with all family dynamics you make work what needs to work when it’s needed. There are no laws or “have to’s” – adoption is not co parenting. What everyone needs to be looking for is what’s best for the child. I have found from experience that if the situation is safe and a relationship early on is possible it is easier to start when the child is a baby, or toddler. It’s more comfortable for everyone as the years pass and its “normal” . No reason to hide this relationship or make pretend it doesn’t exist..it does and every family going into adoption needs to know this. It is part of adoption.
As my boys were growing up I never felt threatened by the presence of these other women…I was always proud of my children and wanted to have each of these birth moms in our lives..I tried many times to find them without success. So what was it like for me when it did happen?
At first I was excited, I was so excited that we finally had contact with our oldest sons birth mom. We had a short relationship with her when she was pregnant with Kyle and thought we would have an “open adoption ” relationship. It was her choice to not continue the relationship. Do I wish that she would have contacted us first, of course but I was still excited, for our son. I was able to meet with her and at first we found a mutual respect for each other but that changed with some decisions she made, and once that shifted it was difficult to get that mutual respect back. Uncomfortable for me for sure, I wanted this woman to like me, I wanted her to appreciate me, as I appreciated her. I wanted for us to adore each other so my son wouldn’t have to feel like he had to hide his relationship with her or he wouldn’t feel that classic adoptee guilt.
Children are not possessions so they do not belong to anyone. A mom gives birth and she can not or does not want to parent and she has an option of adoption. A woman wants to be a parent and she is there to adopt this child. You love and protect and raise this child with everything you are. I am grateful for the opportunity to be a mom.
As our children grow up they leave, they make a life for themselves and they start to live. That’s what we spend 18 years in preparation for right? It hurts when they leave but we are supposed to feel comfort in who they are and what we have provided, so they can succeed in this moment. My oldest took a little longer to leave and when he did he moved to another country and he moved in with his birth mother. I had 5 days to process this information. I’m being honest when I say..I’m still processing this information. It has nothing to do with whether or not my son loves me. It has nothing to do with whether I want him to be with her or not. I don’t want him to feel guilt, I don’t want him to choose. I know who I am, I know where I’ve been. I know as a woman she is happy to have him in her life. I have tried to process my feelings..I have tried to put my feelings into words. I know this is a day that as an adoptive parent I could expect..it’s one of those tools that I share with others that they have to have, but I am still having a hard time. I see pictures of them together and I am happy for them, and I am sad for me. I am sad that I had to be the disciplinarian, I am sad that I am the one who created boundaries and curfews, I am sad that I am the one who had to look for him when he ran away for a week and now she gets to be the one who makes him smile, she gets to be the one who takes him to see places he has never seen, I am sad that she gets to laugh with him and I had to make sure he graduated high school. I am sad that he has memories of hating me and she doesn’t have this history. And as I say those things, I LOVE that I was the one that was there when he graduated from preschool, rode his first motorcycle, swam in the ocean in Mexico, got his letter jacket, cried with him during his first break up, held his head when he was vomiting after drinking too much – I know that I’m the lucky one. I know that he is able to smile now because we helped him become who he is. I know that there are parts of him that need her love right now to make him stronger and as his mom I appreciate that she is available to provide this But I would be lying to say it doesn’t all feel good..that I don’t have moments of jealousy. My husband doesn’t understand…he asks me why it hurts me to see our son happy. I still don’t have the words…of course I want him happy. I know families whose children have “left the nest” even gone to other countries..does it feel the same? I don’t know.. I only know what it feels like for me.

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