For a birth mother in reunion, all sorts of remarks will be offered once you volunteer the news that you have been found or found your child. One of the main reasons I never told anyone that I was a birth mother until reunion was my fear that people would reject me once they heard my “secret.” All in all, I was fortunate to receive lots of support and few insensitive comments.
Here are some of the ways and comments nearly guaranteed to stir up reunited birth moms and set their blood boiling:
1. One of the all time favorite comments made to reunited birth mothers upon news that they are reunited:
2. When adoptive parents, adoption lawyers or others publicly speak out against open records and talk about how us poor pitiful birth mothers need to have our privacy protected. Are adoptees such evil creatures that we need to remain hidden from them? If birth mothers craved privacy so much, why is there a trend towards open adoptions? I really hate for others to presume to know what birth parents want.
3. Tell a birth mother that she is not really a mother because she relinquished her right to be a mother. Be sure to drone on about who changed the diapers, wiped the nose, etc. and insist that person is the “real” mother, and that birth mothers should leave their children alone. People make those kinds of comments on some forums on a regular basis. Birth parents relinquish their rights to parent, however, once a mother always a mother. Giving birth is one indisputable way that a woman becomes a mother. There are other ways to become a mother as well – adopting is another way.
4. Call a pregnant woman considering adoption a birthmother even before she has given birth. Does that make her an ex-birth mother if she changes her mind and decides to parent? Along the same lines, call your child’s birth mother, “your” birth mother. That makes her sound like she is your private babymaker and your personal property. If she is “your” birth mother, I suppose you could request a second or third baby from her, huh? She is your child’s birth mother, not yours.
5. Another all time favorite is to tell a mother who wants to search for her child that she has no right to do so, that it may disturb her child and his/her parents. Inquire if she did not promise that she would never search for her child. Few mothers say that they made any such promise. In fact, some mothers were told that as soon as their children were of legal age that they would be given information about their birth mothers. However, rarely was it true that adoptees received information about their birth family when they reach legal age.
6. Ask her why she hasn’t gotten on with her life or “gotten over it yet.” Tell her that she should just let it go and stop her whining and crying. Birth mothers love this one!
Some of these items do not necessarily provoke intense anger, but are merely annoying and upsetting.
Photo by Jan Baker 2007