This is the time of year we are laser focused on gifts—who needs one from us, who is expecting one, how do I know what that person wants? Is it on Amazon? The reality is that the joy these gestures bring in giving something to another person frequently gets crushed in the weight of worry about getting the right thing, money limits, limited supplies and lack of time to truly think it through.
For individuals or couples in our programs--whether it’s awaiting your title of adoptive parent, newly placed in your role or long-time-settled-in as adoptive parents there is a gift you can give that is one of the most treasured of all, long-lasting and precious—the gift of connection to your child’s birth family. These relationships take on many different forms, as all relationships do—some with great comfort and ease in sharing ourselves, others that require a push out of our box and into the world of someone who has a very different life. Everyone needs the gift of respect, honor and acceptance, someone in our corner at just the right time. Ask yourself what you can give to the individual who gave you indescribable joy at the expense of their pain and sacrifice? You can give:
- A word of true respect for following through with her decision after the grueling challenge of facing the reality she will not be able to parent this child.
- A genuine openness of heart - acknowledge her as a person who will forever occupy a place in the heart of your child.
- A positive look toward the future. Commitment is remaining firm in your connection when you do not know the future. Your love for her and her decision will be seen by your child and your connection will be endearing knowing that everyone in his life loves him.
The decision makers in an adoption change over time. Expectant parents, while in the midst of a pregnancy will make the choice about who raises their child. Prospective parents anxiously await to be chosen, and must wait and be available. They have done the hard work to be approved, but at this point, it is a wait—there is nothing else to do.
Once an expectant mom makes her choice, she goes through the work of delivery, experiences the separation and placement of the child, and then gives her consent to the adoption. With that last event, she hands over the power and control of what happens to the child, whether or not she will have future contact and what it will be. That baton of choice is passed on to the adoptive family.
As the child grows and matures, there will come a day where the choice becomes his. He will make the decision about the ongoing relationship with his adoptive parents and with his birth parents. His decision will likely rest on the foundation that has been built for him. Does he know and understand his birth story? Does he feel love and open communication between his adoptive and birth parents?
The gift of support and honor and acceptance of your child’s birth parent can have lifetime implications and is worth giving with all your heart—for the benefit of your child.
The link below is a list written by a birth parent sharing suggestions for things birth parents would treasure as demonstrations of connection. Relationships are without question a two-way street, but consider these things as the actions that can go a long way to lift the spirits, calm fears, dispel shame and encourage communication. It will be worth it.