Bonding with my son’s mother has come more naturally to me at certain times, and felt more difficult at other times. There were times that I felt insecure about bonding with her because I was afraid of what she might think of me. I think I realized that she was fearful of the same thing. You see, people are people, no matter what role they play in life. Whether you are a birth mother or an adoptive parent, you are still human. Human beings get fearful and insecure about what others might think of them. We may second guess actions that we take or words that we speak. Confidence doesn’t come easy for the fallible human being. Therefore, bonding with a birth parent may feel like a challenge.
What do I say? How do I act? What do I share? What do I keep to myself? These are questions rooted in insecurity that I have experienced in different relationships. These questions are not specific to the birth mother and adoptive mother relationship. In my experience, these questions and insecurities arise in many relationships I have been involved in. It’s not about who you are talking to though. I believe it is where you are talking from.
My son’s mother spoke from her heart, and I spoke form my heart and that is how we bonded. There was no façade or dance regarding how we would act towards one another. I wasn’t looking for a woman to put on a show for me. I was looking for a woman who would share her heart with me. I knew that I needed someone who could love my son as much as I did, and the only way I would be able to identify that was by looking at her heart.
Even though bonding has been challenging at times, I never felt as if I was forcing a relationship with my son’s mother. I think that forcing a relationship may be an indicator that the relationship isn’t meant to be. We should never have to force a personal and intimate relationship with another person.
My suggestion to adoptive parents who are trying to bond with their child’s birth parents is this: Be yourself. Joining a family together through adoption isn’t about swooping the child up and walking away from his or her parents. It’s about creating an extension of family where you can all come together through one common bond: your love for that child.
If you are looking for some topics to discuss with your child’s birth parent, here are some suggestions:
- What are some activities that you see that child getting involved with and how will you help that child by encouraging him or her to try those activities? Sports? Dance? Mathletes?
- When was it first put on your heart that adoption was the way to go for you and how can you express a knowing that this is the right child for your family?
- What are your dreams, hopes, and aspirations as an individual and as a parent?
- What are your core belief systems and how do you try to carry those beliefs out on your daily life?
If you begin to discuss these topics from your heart with the birth parents you are looking to connect with, my prayer is that they will be receptive and open up with you as well. My relationship as a birth mother with my son’s parents is very intimate and special. That relationship has developed and adapted over time to become a closer connection. We have learned about each other’s hearts, boundaries, and desires.
Don’t Give Up
If you find that the birth parents or birth mother cannot seem to bond with you, but you are confident that the child was meant to be with you, be sensitive to why that bonding isn’t occurring. Consider that birth parents experience tremendous amounts of grief, guilt, and shame at times. They also may be feeling insecure about how they should interact with you. I know that there have been times I second-guessed myself with my son’s parents because I was feeling insecure.
I think that the desire to bond with your child’s birth parents is admirable, honorable, and crucial in the success of such a relationship. If bonding isn’t happening, perhaps it is one of two things. Either this isn’t the relationship you may be looking for, or the birth parents are feeling incredibly insecure and are not at a place where they are able to express intimacy through bonding. My suggestion is to not give up on creating that bond. If your heart truly desires a bond, and birth parents see that, there is always hope.
Lindsay is a guest blogger for American Adoptions. She placed her son for adoption 7 years ago and hopes to use her experience to support and educate other expectant mothers considering adoption, as well as adoptive families.