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Questions to Ask Your Child’s Birth Mother

As any adoptive parent knows, it is completely natural to wonder about your child’s origins. Learning about your child’s birth mother can be a moving and transformative experience. Your child’s birth mother represents a link to the past; from lingering memories of life before adoption, to a significant connection to their culture and heritage. When given the chance to ask questions, you may jump on the opportunity. But first, there are some things to take note of before you meet your child’s birth mother.

In any adoption, it is crucial to have admiration and respect for your child’s birth mother. It takes thoughtfulness, patience, and empathy for both families to decide the best future for their child. Despite any frustrations and anxieties hindering your adoption process, never forget that the child is the priority for everyone involved. Both families are working towards one goal: ensuring that their child is welcomed with open arms into a life of comfort, security, and unconditional love. When embarking on a journey into your child’s past, it is important to approach every discussion with both an open mind and an open heart.

Question 1: What is your adoption plan? 

Many adoptive families seek out their child’s birth mother. You may be motivated by an intense curiosity, hoping to discover more about your precious little one. This may stem from parental concern, in preparation for your child’s future questions. Perhaps you simply want to thank your child’s birth mother, for bringing a radiant light into your world. Sometimes, adoptive parents even feel obliged to provide support — particularly after the distressing burdens of pregnancy, you may feel obliged to offer the birth mother a helping hand. Whatever your reasons, the first step in exploring your child’s past is honoring the birth mother’s privacy. Your child’s birth mother gets to choose what type of adoption process is the most suitable for her needs: an open, semi-open, or closed adoption. The various adoption plans are detailed here.

Understanding the mother’s motives for choosing a specific adoption plan allows you to recognize the importance of boundaries. Agreeing on privacy is an essential step. Initiate a conversation and decide whether phone numbers are exchanged, addresses are traded, and last names are given. Determining relationship limitations is a pivotal choice for any family, so remember to stay courteous and respectful.

Question 2: What is my child’s cultural heritage? 

Learning about your child’s past can give you a sense of who they are and who they may become. It will also give them a greater appreciation for their family lineage. For instance, it may be fascinating to explore your child’s ethnicity and culture. You could ask the birth mother about the family traditions most near and dear to her heart. The more you discover about your child’s roots, the more you can keep their connection with their heritage.

Question 3: What characteristics were passed down?

Other than family customs, the birth mother may have characteristics she instilled in the child. Perhaps the birth mother is a talented painter, and perhaps your child is growing up with artistic capabilities. Exploring your child’s family can help you hone in on personality traits your child may exhibit. You may also wonder about the birth mother’s personal life. It is important to tread lightly in this case. In some circumstances, the mother may open up about her difficulties with the pregnancy or her relationship with the child’s father. If this is the case, try your best to be as caring as possible, reassuring the mother about the future. Subsequently, be respectful if the birth mother chooses not to open up about her struggles.

Question 4: Why did you choose adoption? 

This is the ever-burning question, simmering in the mind of any dedicated parent. Questions may be bouncing ceaselessly around your mind. How could anyone choose to let go of a child you can’t live without? How could they give up someone so special? Despite your inquisitiveness, however, practicing restraint is key.

Most birth mothers choose adoption with unrelenting love in their hearts. They consider the unfortunate circumstances preventing them from nurturing the child, and they weigh their options. Because they may wholeheartedly love the baby from the depths of their very soul, they choose to provide the baby with the life it deserves. And even if a mother is fully confident in her choice, that doesn’t mean she has to talk about it. For many mothers, parting ways with their child can be a traumatizing experience. Perhaps they aren’t quite ready to reflect on their decision, or maybe their choice is something too personal to share.

When meeting your child’s birth mother, limit your expectations on what they will reveal. This conversation relies completely on empathy. When done with tact, you may gain a better understanding of others, and become a more compassionate person yourself. The key to this is listening: hear out the mother’s story, and try to relate to her situation. Walk a mile in her shoes. If you do decide to ask about the choices they made, ask with the utmost politeness and patience. You could start by asking other interesting questions- for instance, start with why they chose Adoption Choices of Oklahoma, instead of another agency.

Furthermore, if the mother has yet to give birth, you could plan for the delivery. Is she okay with your presence during the delivery, or would she prefer private time with her baby before saying goodbye? Parting ways with the child can be a heavy and distressing experience, so the birth mother must be treated with genuine kindness from everyone present.

Question 5: Why me?

Oftentimes, the birth mother has a say in the baby’s new parents. It may seem tempting to view this in a self-centered way, as being picked from hundreds of applicants can be flattering. Yet above all else, the choice was made out of concern for the baby. Every birth mother must consider what family would give her baby the brightest future, or what parents could fill the child’s life with the most bountiful opportunities.

Instead of focusing the question on why the birth mother chose your family, transform this question into a heart to heart about hopes and dreams for the baby. What is it about your family that could provide the most for the child? Perhaps the birth mother loved your family’s musical inclination, and hoped that her child would grow up with a passion for music. Perhaps the birth mother valued your big family, and wanted her child to grow up with an extensive support system.

Take the mother’s wishes into account. Although she may have desired a certain life for her child, she is now unable to provide that. Choosing the baby’s family is a huge reassurance to many birth mothers; the overwhelming stress of finding the perfect fit for their newborn is indescribable. It is a blessing to spend time listening to the birth mother’s wishes, and together you can dream up ways of helping the child flourish.

Question 6: What comes next? 

If you plan to keep in touch with your child’s birth mother, it is important to figure out the best strategy moving forward. Will there be annual birthday cards, or pictures sent through the mail? One incredible solution is a website called Child Connect, an amazingly helpful online resource. Through Child Connect, your information remains confidential as you safely exchange your memories online. If you decide against online options, you may feel comfortable giving out your address so the child can receive handwritten letters, Christmas presents, and more.

The Future: an Unanswerable Question

At the end of the day, the future is extremely unexpected and unstable. There is no way of predicting how times will change. It is important to prepare for relationships to evolve, especially since the child may react a number of different ways after discovering their adoption. You may spend hours with the birth mother,  planning out how to respond to your child’s questions about adoption. Yet when the child comes of age, they may not even ask. But although no future is guaranteed, planning ahead is imperative. Working together is crucial.

Never forget that your child’s birth mother is single-handedly responsible for your baby coming into your life. Your life may have been turned upside down when you adopted a child, and it’s all thanks to the choices of one woman. You have the chance to bond over a parental instinct, cherishing the child together. Talking with your child’s birth mother must be a mutual reciprocation of compassion and respect. When done right, it can start your child on a path of unequivocal love from both families.

Adoption Choices of Oklahoma

If you are currently in the process of adopting a baby and have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact, Adoption Choices of Oklahoma. You may visit our website here or call 405-794-7500 (Oklahoma City) or 918-982-6220 (Tulsa).

Support Adoption Choices

CrowdriseAdoption Choices, Inc. is partnering with Crowdrise, a fundraising website for nonprofits, to help our adoptive parents and birth parents with much needed financial assistance. We understand that expenses keep clients from fulfilling their dreams. Both with birth parents making a plan for adoption, and with adoptive parents growing their family. It is our mission to provide financial assistance through grants and scholarships, awarded annually in November, in honor of National Adoption Month. Funds assist adoptive parents with matching and placements, adoption finalization and helping birth mothers improve their lives through higher education — and much more.

However, we can’t do it alone. Please read up on our programs and donate money where you are able. Your donation will make a huge impact.

About the Author

Kenneal Patterson

Kenneal Patterson is a sophomore at Northeastern University in Boston. She is currently studying Journalism and Political Science, with a minor in Global Health. Kenneal is honored to work with Adoption Choices. She hopes that her journalism will inspire others to be more empathetic and kind. She thinks that writing can convey important messages of hope and love, and she wants to share these messages with others.

Kenneal spends her summers at home in Golden, Colorado, with her many cats and dogs. She is eternally grateful to those who read her work!

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