As discussed in yesterday’s post about the first meeting or conversation with a birth mother, you may not know what to say or how to act when you begin contact with the woman who selects you and your spouse. It can feel like an awkward first date, but that’s ok!
Over time, the better you get to know one another and the more you bond, the better you all will likely feel. She’ll feel more sure about choosing your family, and you’ll feel more confident in her adoption plan. Read on for advice about bonding with birth parents from adoption veterans.
“I would say that you can’t go into this with your heart unopen. You can’t go into it closed off with the birth parents. They can feel it. It turns them off and scares them as if we’re hiding something.” – Silke
“The birth mom and birth dad are absolutely making the hardest decision of their life ever. They’re not in a situation because they’re terrible people. They are usually very good people in unfortunate situations and some sort of issue. And they want the absolute best for these kids and their baby. If they don’t get the feel from the prospective parents that they were willing to give every last thing to this child, I think that can rub them off a little.” – Mike
“We ended up bringing [our older daughter], which was really neat because we’re a family. And so she got to see all of us. And I think it was neat too because she got to see how we parent, the good and the bad.” – Kathryn
“She was very open to sharing information with us. She was very happy that she picked us. Overall, if other adoptive parents have the chance to meet their child’s birth parents, I think they should. It’s kind of a glimpse into where he’s coming from and gives some more insight and more information.” – Mike
“We were able to get pictures taken with her… I think that’s important. We want to make sure that we share that with him… I asked if there is anything special she wants us to do with him, if there’s special things that they do at holidays and birthdays, so that we can make sure that we’re able to share that with him as well.” – Ashley
“Two things: First, just to be yourself. You aren’t going to be able to sell somebody that you are not. Secondly, just put yourselves in their place. It is much harder for them. They have to get to know you and trust you in a very short amount of time.” – Nikki
“Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there with the birth parents. We went in with a semi-open adoption. You build that bond; you want to have that contact. The more info you share about yourself, the more comfortable they will feel about their decision. The birth parents told us that – had we not been as open as we were – they weren’t sure if they could have gone through with the adoption. Always try to be as open and honest as you feel comfortable with. The more trust you give them, the more trust they have in you.” – Jason
“The best advice I can give is to be flexible and go with the flow. Things may change. Our birth mother didn’t want to meet us or see our son and then changed her mind when she went into labor. Take your cues from your [child’s] birth parents. Ask questions, talk and try to find where you have common ground. Ask what hopes and dreams they have for the baby. Ask questions about what your birth mother liked as a child and talk about what she would like to see her baby do.” – Susan
“I think if we would have met them at the hospital for the first time, it would have been more nerve-wracking. Everyone is more tense at the hospital any way because there is a lot of emotional stuff going on. So it was nice to be outside of that environment, to kind of talk and to be a little bit more relaxed.” – Daphne
“The first conference call really went quickly to developing that friendship, talking more personally about each other than about the adoption itself. The birth father always wanted to work and live on a farm, so we talked about our farm and a lot of other personal things. The adoption part was a very minor portion of the call – maybe 15 minutes out of the hour and a half.” – Bruce
“It was really neat to see how much we had in common, why they chose us, how the pregnancy was going, and just to get to know them a little better with each call. It made things a lot more comfortable at the hospital.” – Shannon
“At first the relationship was, ‘let’s get through this together.’ But then we connected, and a lot of similarities in our personalities would come out. It was just a natural progression to a friendship.” – Donna
“We emailed each other on occasion, every couple of weeks. As the birthday got closer, we actually emailed each other more and more. About four days before she went into labor, she emailed us and said it’s getting close – get ready. We emailed each other up until the day she gave birth. The last email she sent said ‘I’m on the way to the hospital right now. Get down here.’ We heard from her before we heard from anybody else. We knew when it was coming, and he was actually born right on his predicted birthday.” – Craig
“We were apprehensive in the beginning and didn’t want to meet them. But, it ended up being the best thing we ever did. They were such nice people that on Mothers Day, which was a few weeks after we met them, they sent us an email that read: ‘To the new parents to be, Happy Mother’s Day, Cheryl.’ It was really touching and special.” -Cheryl
“She put in her paperwork that she was up for a pre-placement visit if we were. We thought that would be so much nicer than going to a hospital and meeting someone at their worst, so we agreed. Plus, we thought we could start having a relationship with her to calm fears on both sides. We were nervous, and driving out there felt like it took forever. But once we started talking, we ended up visiting for eight hours, and all of our nerves subsided.” – Jason
“It was a very easy, flowing conversation and much easier than I anticipated. We actually had a lot in common. We just absolutely loved it. We loved them. We had no expectations, we didn’t know what it was going to be like, so it made it a lot easier as far as getting to know them.” – Nikki
To read more about bonding with birth parents, look over these other links:
- Make the Most of Meeting a Birth Mother – This blog post has suggested conversation topics and tips for first contact with your child’s birth mother.
- Wondering If You’re Bonding Well? – Visit this Newsletter Recap for a Q&A with Adoption Specialist Laurie on this very topic.