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
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.
Beware any article that paints open adoption as terrible. Beware any article that paints open adoption as wonderful. Open adoption — which occurs when people come together under less-than-optimal circumstances — is a mix of the sublime and the sorrowful.
I was encouraged when I saw a headline for a TODAY Parents article: “Open Adoption is not something to fear.” That statement, I believe, is true. If parents are entering into the lifelong responsibility of adopting a child, they need to be willing and able to give her, over her lifetime, all she needs to become whole and integrated. This means adoptive parents must be willing to identify and resolve their own fears and insecurities about not being the Only in their child’s life. (As the author says, she was “scared to death” about having to share her child. But she worked through that fear, as adoptive parents need to do).
So I’m on board with the title. But much of what comes after that is problematic. Here are the top 4 issues that jump out at me.
1. The Word “Our”
The article’s subheading “Finding Our Birth Mom” violates two oft-invoked rules in cross-triad groups, groups that seek to understand the perspectives of adoptees, birth parents, and adoptive parents.
Continue reading 4 Problems with NBC TODAY Parents Adoption Article
A year ago I published a letter from Charlene that explained her son had found his birth mother and they had all attended his college graduation. The reunion had gone so well that the son had decided to move to another state to live with his birth mom and get to know his biological family.
Charlene was happy for her son, yet also had many other emotions and was feeling confused by their coexistence.
That post resulted in a lively and helpful discussion. Charlene wrote in this week with an update, and she doesn’t mind that I share it with you. We both feel there is value in seeing what happens when a person has no choice but to trust the process (well, I suppose you can fight the process, but in adoption that rarely ends well).
Continue reading Update: the Mom Whose Son Left to Live with Birth Mom