Question: We brought our son home through domestic private adoption 14 months ago (he spent a month in agency foster care because of some time in NICU and a bunch of red tape delays).
We have openness with Ben’s birth mother, Tina — at least we did. I send pictures through an app so she can see them when and if she wants. She doesn’t directly inquire about him, though she’ll ask how we’re all doing. Months ago after a long period of not getting any response from her, I looked on her social media, which was public, and discovered she was expecting a baby.
She’s never told me. We’ve texted a few times since, but she’s said nothing about being pregnant. Last week I discovered she’d just had her daughter. I have filed away the baby’s name in case my son wants to search for her some day. No one in Tina’s family knows about our son. (I have their names and some information as she was very forthright with it. Detectives tried but couldn’t find the birth father.)
From social media, it’s clear that her family is ecstatic about this current baby. I don’t believe Tina has any intention of telling us about her daughter, as then it would open the possibility of my son being discovered.
What should I do now and in the future? I am afraid of making a misstep that ruins any possible relationship between us and our son’s birth mom. There is a very real possibility of her closing the adoption, which saddens me. Do I admit I know about the new baby, or continue as if I don’t know? I prefer honestly but it would also require I admit that I have seen this information online. I worry this would make her feel violated.
At what point do I tell my son that he has a bio sister? I would love more contact for my son’s sake, but I don’t want to ruin things in my desire for it.
Continue reading I Know Something I’m Not Supposed to Know about My Child’s Birth Mom
I had to decide in an instant what to do about an exchange I witnessed on a lunch break at school.
A parent at my school was performing volunteer duties. I watched as her son, one of my high school students, passed by her near the main office.
“You’re adopted,” he said to her affectionately.
“No, YOU’re adopted.” she volleyed back. Obviously this was not the first time they have said these connection-building words to each other.
Continue reading Adoption as a Punchline
Question: I’m in a support group for adoptive mothers. We have a new member who adopted her son at about 3 months old. The boy is now 5.
This mother strongly believes her son is hers and there is no need to talk about adoption with him. Her husband supports this opinion.
She broke down crying when we talked about how her son already knows and feels the truth. I would like to break into her resistance gently so as not to lose her attendance in our support group. What can we say to make her understand?
Continue reading Her Son is Only Hers. She Can’t Bear to Think Otherwise.
Did you tune in to NBC’s This Is Us last week? Randall brings up the Adoption Split.
And with this meme I reiterate a remedy I often talk about: openness. It’s with openness (not necessarily contact) that the grownups in an adoption can help their child integrate and heal.
Randall Pearson, a transracial adoptee on the show, says, “My whole childhood I felt split. There were these people I lived with and then there were my birth parents who I never met. But I thought about them all the time…like a ringing in my ears. It quiets down sometimes…but then there are sometimes where it’s so loud.”
How to Help Heal the Adoption Split
The premise of my book is this: “Adoption creates a split between a person’s biology and their biography. Openness is a way to heal that split.”
Now. Who’s going to send a copy to Rebecca? (Randall’s fictional adoptive mom.)
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