April 6th, 2007
Posted By:
Categories: General Tips, Reunion

Many birth parents enter reunion clueless about how adoptees feel. Of course, this is somewhat unavoidable if they are not expecting a reunion but are found by their children. However, if you really want to build a relationship that suceeds, I suggest a crash course in learning about adoption and adoptees.

When my reunion first began, my son told me that he was reading a book that was mainly about birthmothers. That told me a great deal about his sincere interest in wanting to know me, and to understand me. I immediately purchased the same book, and have been reading about adoption fast and furiously ever since.


Here is some of what I have learned:

1. Respect your child’s adoptive parents and if you are tempted to say anything negative about them, bite your tongue. Say it to a friend or support group member, but never say anything negative about your child’s adoptive parents to your child or anyone who might tell them. In fact, to be safe only mention anything that most you only to trusted confidantes. In most cases, an adopted child will be intensely protective and defensive if a birth parent criticizes their child’s adoptive parents. Whatever faults the adoptive parents might have, they raised your child and probably did the best they could. An adopted child usually is fiercely loyal to their adoptive parents and putting them down might be a huge mistake. Even if the adoptive parents were not the best parents, putting them down may not be well received by an adoptee.

2. Never forget that not all adoptees react to their adoptive status in exactly the same manner.

3.If your child says that they have no adoption issues, do not try to convince them otherwise.

4. Take responsibility for the adoption decision. Even if you truly had little choice in the matter, acknowledge your role. Do not blame everyone else. This is tough if you were pressured or forced, but it still applies.

5. Do not criticize your child’s manners or behavior. You did not raise them, and cannot expect them to behave as you think they should.

6. Whatever you do, do not insist that your child call you, “Mom.” Most adoptees do not toss that word around lightly. In fact, they may greatly resent your pressuring them and insisting on being called, “Mom” or “Mother.” Although many adoptees call their birth mothers motherly names, many do not. Let them decide.

7. Do not make assumptions that they love or hate adoption. You could be dead wrong and if you are, it might be create some friction.

8. Have reasonable expectations, and be prepared to lower them if you need to.

9. Love your child unconditionally. That is likely what they need from you whether they say so or not. If you condition your relationship with them based on doing what you expect them to do, you may be asking for problems.

For more insights, read adoptee stories about reunion. Read more about reunion at our blogs here and here.

6 Responses to “Tips for Birth Parents in Reunion”

  1. scarlet moon 13 says:

    #4 take responsiblity..

    I was 15, and my mother directed the whole show..

    But she is dead, my grandparents where I stayed are dead… anyone who had any thing to do with me, aside from the bdad who was driven away, is dead.

    The buck stops here. It doesn’t matter that I wanted my son. I doesn’t matter that I was scared to death of my mother.

    None of it matters, I and only I have to answer for all that happened.


    • april84 says:

      you probably didn’t have much of a choice. And depending on what year that was, you might not even have had a complete understanding of how it was going to happen until it was done. Today this subject is all over all forms of media, but there was a time when the conversation just didn’t go in any other direction. There weren’t other choices available. Just wanted to validate your experience.
      And here is the other side…you have to really consider what an adoptee would want to hear and more than likely it will make them wonder about you if you even mention the feelings that you endured.
      Its kind of like watching someone have a heart attack and then telling them that it was really painful to watch them have a heart attack.
      I am working thru this…it is all new to me…I just heard from what I think could be my birth child, not even sure if I am the right person or not. Its very surreal, please pray for us that everything works out for the best possible result for all.

  2. Jan Baker says:

    I specifically explained that point as I did because I do know that many birth moms had little choice (if any) especially ones as young as you were. In a sense, you’re right, you are stuck with the blame. It definitely isn’t fair…but…

    It does matter in a sense though, because YOU know that at 15, you could not have been expected to do anything differently.

  3. westcoastbmom says:

    I completely disagree with this article. It is so one sided it’s not even funny! It’s as if no one seems to care how the birth mother may feel about being found, and the violation of her privacy! I had a horrible “reunion” experience and quite frankly, I hope I never hear from either my “son” or his “mother” again!! These two people have turned my life upside down and all of their invasive and nosy questions and comments have brought back so many awful painful memories that took me a long time to get over…and yet you say “don’t criticize the adoptee” “don’t criticize the adoptive mother?” Apparently you think it’s ok for them to criticize the birth mother and villify her? If I knew that I would have to contend with an “a-mom” who would wind up cyberstalking me, and a “son” who would tell me he “regetted” looking me up simply because I put a stop to his mothers actions and who I expect to actually do his own legwork in this reunion process than merely relying on her to do it all, I would’ve NEVER allowed contact. WHY ARE YOU PUTTING ALL OF THE RESPONSIBILITY ON THE BIRTHMOTHER and basically implying that any failure in the reunion is HER fault and not the adoptee or A-mom?

  4. westcoastbmom says:

    Also, I knew what I was doing when I chose to place. I have no regrets and I really resent anyone trying to make it out that somehow I’m akin to Adolph Hitler for placing a child for adoption! Why should I have to carry guilt all my life????

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