October 21st, 2006
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Categories: Support

support

You certainly wouldn’t want to surrender your child just to become a part of the birthparent world, but once you do, I will say it is a very kind and supportive group of women (and some men) you will find there. On the email lists and in person support groups, what do we do talk about? What do we do?

–We help each other by reviewing important letters before they are sent, or major phone calls before they are made. Lots of messages are traded that go like this:

QUESTION: “Ladies, can you read this for me and see if it sounds too pushy? I don’t want to sound like I’m overstepping my bounds, and I certainly don’t want to risk losing what little contact I have. Suggestions welcome.”

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RESPONSE: “I would take out the part about sticking to what they said before the birth. They might find it threatening, and close things down even further. Good luck – hope it works!”

–We plot strategies for how to handle sticky situations with the adoptive family. We pool knowledge about what works and what doesn’t. We become experts in diplomacy and how to ask for what we want and need without offending or threatening. (When we do have to beg or plead, we try to help each other maintain our dignity while we do it.)

–We talk each other through the bad days – birthdays, anniversaries, bad news about our kids’ behavior, our children’s illnesses, hurtful comments from outsiders, visits that don’t go well, open adoptions that seem to be closing down.

–We prepare each other for the big moments in adoption – reunion, for closed adoption; the first time our child asks “Why?”, in open adoption, and the first visit, again in open adoption. We talk through the possibilities and make sure our fellow birthparents are ready for whatever they will be facing.

–We share advice about what toys our children may like, since many of us don’t really know our own kids, what they might like, or what is an age-appropriate gift.

–We swap pictures like crazy. No one values photos more than a birthparent.

–Among ourselves, we are free to enjoy our parenthood and be proud of our kids, with no judgment or scorn.

So how does this relate to you, now going through an unplanned pregnancy? Well, we also welcome in expectant moms who are trying to decide if adoption is right for them. (I sure wish I had found one of these e-mail lists when I was pregnant!) I encourage you to get out there and find such a group, so you can benefit from the wisdom of current birthparents in a private setting.

Over the last eight years, I have met some wonderful women and men who are birthparents. This is my thanks to them.

5 Responses to “Things birthparents do for each other”

  1. I have to disagree here. For the most part, I find the community of birthparents to be kind and supportive. But your comment here:

    I will say it is a very kind and supportive group of women (and some men) you will find there.

    …well, it leaves out those who are NOT kind and supportive. The ones who give me a hard time for who knows what reason. The ones who don’t understand what human compassion is or how to share it with others.

    While I agree that women experiencing an unplanned pregnancy should talk with birthmothers (who have had both good and bad experiences!), not warning them of the overwhelming nastiness that some of these birthmothers possess is like sending a sheep out to the wolves!

    :(

  2. Heather Lowe says:

    Jenna, I’ve met a few bad apples, but I haven’t encountered any more trouble than is typical in any large group of diverse people. Do you feel some birthparents can be nastier than the population at large?

  3. Do you feel some birthparents can be nastier than the population at large?

    Probably only on the basis that they’re being nasty about something that is so emotionally charged. If that makes sense. I’m sure it doesn’t. It’s still early. ;)

  4. Coley S. says:

    I agree that there are a few not so nice bmoms out there, but overall they are kind and supportive. You are gonna find negative people in any social circle unfortunately.

    Nice tribute Heather! :)

  5. lahdh4 says:

    I have found that I can be myself and not put on the “happy” face that is expected of me in public. I like that I don’t have to hide my feelings and the way that I am feeling.
    Yes I am still cautious. It is my nature but overall I have “met” a great group of women.

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