Adopting Intentionally – Day 20
For 31 Days I will blog about Adopting Intentionally, you can find an overview and links to daily posts here.
Once you have been matched domestically you may have the opportunity to speak with or meet the birthmother and possibly birthfather.
This can feel awkward and unnatural, but with a bit of preparation and intention, your meeting can be a time of kindness, respect, and affirmation.
Most likely both parties are nervous about this encounter.
The decision that the birthparents are making is life changing and one of personal sacrifice and loss. It is never an easy decision to make, and it may be one that they question for months. You are meeting a birthmother at a vulnerable time in her life. She is carrying a child, extra weight, and an emotional burden.
Make it your goal to bring peace and kindness to the meeting.
The birthparents’ story is unique and tremendously important.
If you are to adopt the child of this birthparent, you will be the carrier of the stories that you hear on this day. One of our favorite stories for our oldest is that his birthmother knew that he was a “happy little boy” and that he brought her great happiness. Our littlest’s birthmother believed her baby to be “a little warrior,” full of strength despite his small size. We have these words from their birthmother’s that we cherish.
Listen and note the insights from the birthparents, they are important.
Remember to be open and not in any way defensive.
Everything about the meeting can be awkward. Just as you have prepared yourself to listen, be ready to hear anything. Remember the birthmother is nervous and she may say things she does not mean. Or she may say things she thinks you want to hear.
Either way, prepare yourself for a time of non-judgement, acceptance and affirmation.
This is not a time for promises.
We have had many requests from our birthmothers. Our answers have always been to be open to the questions, understanding her motive and affirming her. We did not promise to host a family for a birthday party or have weekly visits. Instead we assured her that we wanted to abide by all guidelines, and take great, healthy steps forward for all involved.
Allow the story to unfold before you instead of making promises or assurances that you might not be able to fulfill.
Research and Contemplate Gift-Giving
When I asked about gift giving at our initial meeting, our social worker was unsure. She said that it would be fine if it was something little. We got her some Bath and Body Works Stress Relief Products. Our intention was to acknowledge that this was a difficult time for her, and encourage her to pamper herself a bit. We had intended to give her a stuffed animal after she gave birth. We had read this was helpful for a birthmother so she does not leave the hospital with empty arms. We were unable to do this for her. But we were able to give one of our birthmother’s the same stuffed animal as we gave her little boy. We will tell him she has one. There are other little meaningful gifts that we have been able to give along the way.
There are appropriate ways to connect with birthmother’s with gifts, but there are also particular guidelines and laws that adoptive parents must follow.
If you are able to give the birthmother a thoughtful gift, seek to make it intentional, write something meaningful and connect the gift to her relationship with her child.
As you step out on the journey toward parenting an adoptive child, may you be intentional in fostering a healthy relationship with a birthparent if you are given the opportunity.
You can read more about our first experience meeting a birthmother.