Birthmother's Perspective: Asking The Hard Questions
I can only imagine the anxiety that comes to adoptive parents who have questions about a birthmother but feel like they can't or should not ask them. The list of questions that adoptive parents feel they should stay away from is a mile long - and so are their reasons for not asking the questions.
More commonly, the reason that adoptive parents don't want to ask questions is that they are afraid they will upset the birth mom or offend her, which jeopardizes the chances of a successful adoption.
My perspective as birthmother of two: I totally get it!
I can completely understand why you would want to ask those questions and why it seems so scary to do it - but if the perspective is tweaked a bit, it is possible to find a resolution.
Fear is the key opposing factor in successful communication between birth mothers and adoptive parents. Both parties are afraid. A-parents (adoptive parents) are afraid of offending the B-mother (birth mother) and B-moms are afraid of losing contact with the A-parents. It's an awful cycle that goes on and on and on until someone breaks it and takes a risk.
Both sides face serious consequences and it really is no wonder that the open adoption relationship seems so challenging. But, there are ways to make it work. The best start is to build trust with your B-Mom.
Build Trust In The Open-Adoption Relationship
Trust is the building block of any relationship. It's no different in adoption. In adoption situations, the loss that you risk can feel extreme for both sides. Emotions are incredibly high and everyone is vulnerable. While A-parents cannot control the actions and reactions of the B-mom, they can control their own.
What I mean by that is, you have the ability to start building a foundation of trust so that you can ask those questions that you are afraid to ask. Jumping the gun and asking the questions too soon could cause emotional reactions that you are afraid of triggering so take some time to build trust first and get answers later IF these questions won't affect your decision to adopt the child.
The A-parents of my second child asked MANY questions during our first conversation that the A-parents of my first child has never asked. They asked for photos of the biological father and information about him including his hobbies and interests, demeanor, personality, etc. They asked how my family felt about the adoption and if they would like to be involved in the baby's life. They asked about what lead me to adoption. They even asked what I did and did not like about the relationship I have with my first child's A-parents. They were very transparent and they remained loving and supportive throughout the pregnancy. Nothing seemed like a big deal or like I was being judged. They just wanted to know because they wanted to be able to give my son the best information that they could because they knew that he would want to know one day.
Their intentions were so clear that it was difficult not to trust and to love them. Another thing that I do remember from my interactions with them before the baby was born was how easily they could share with me their own lives. It was as if they had no fear that I would change my mind about them. I was so grateful for their openness and willingness to share their personal lives with me. I felt like a friend, not an outcast. I felt like a part of their family, not someone beneath them. I felt equal because they showed me respect and gentleness - with a large amount of normalcy. The transition felt lighter and much easier to heal from.
The small things that you do as adoptive parents can help establish trust and eliminate the fear that will ultimately continue growing between you and your B-mom. If you have questions, please feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.