10 Things This Birthmother Wants Adoptive Families To Know


birthmother perspective, tips for adoptive families, open-adoption relationship, tips from a birthmother

As a birthmother who has placed a child 10 years ago and placed a second child 3 years ago, I can tell you that no matter where we are on our path of healing, there are things we want our adoptive families to know and understand.


Adoptions are not handled the same way they were 30 years ago. Back then, when a woman placed a child for adoption, she wasn’t provided very much information about the family or the child and vice-versa. Today, open adoptions are fast replacing traditional adoption scenarios and more and more birthmothers are given the opportunity to be a part of the child’s life in some way.


In open adoptions, birthmother's may receive photos of the child and the family, letters, and updates, some communicate with the child through telephone and video chat, and some have in-person visits with the child. But every situation is different, and every birthmother experiences the healing journey after placement differently. So even in very open adoption situations, the birth mother may not participate as much as she and the adoptive family expected her to…for many reasons.



1. My emotional distance does not reflect my love for my child or how much I care about him. The distance helps me live my life and move forward – it allows me to let go and truly recover and find happiness.

2. The level of heartbreak I endured after the adoptions was unbearable and, at times, felt traumatic. If I shy away for a period of time, it is because I am being emotionally triggered.

3. I understand that “my” child is YOUR child and I respect that completely. Please respect that YOUR child once was MY child also – I love him with every ounce of my being. If I reach out a lot, it’s just because I miss him.

4. My family also loves this child. They ask about him. They want to see pictures and hear about him. They feel a loss in their lives as well.

5. I worry that if I don’t do everything right after the adoption, I run the risk of ties being cut completely, and this feels scary.

6. Even if I don’t reach out – I do love hearing from you, seeing pictures, getting updates, and feeling close to all of you. In fact, I am ecstatic when you reach out to me.

7. The best, best, best presents from you are drawings, letters, and crafts made by YOUR child that address me by my name – receiving these gifts is euphoric.

8. I will always hope to grow this relationship between all of us.

9. If I don’t know your boundaries, I can’t respect them. Please be clear.

10. I hope that he knows how much he is loved by everyone involved in this relationship.

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