September 15 is celebrated as Women’s Friendship Day. Sounds simple enough, right? We have other friends that are women. Well, we have had plenty of women friends. Some from our earliest years who would run back and forth across the street to each others’ houses as we played after school hours. Other ladies who we met in our formative teenage years who made impacts on decisions we made and curfews we didn’t. Then, we remember women who worked nights and weekends with us at some of our first jobs and how they were there to help us navigate those demands. There are those we bonded with over research papers and late nights and who still show up from time to time wanting a reunion.
But let’s be honest. Women’s Friendship Day doesn’t seem too complex, but as women, we know that sometimes our friendships exploit our complications, our insecurities, and even our differences. So, how do we celebrate a day as adult women that reminds us of the passé friend we have become or that adult friendships can be difficult to grow and maintain with care? Better yet, how do two women who share a common interest, their child, develop a friendship and allow it to flourish for the sake the child and everyone involved? What can it look like for a birth mother and an adoptive mother to celebrate their friendship because of the love that brought them together?
1. Keep the Child Your #1 Priority
Beginning a relationship on something you have in common is key, but in the realm of adoption, what you have in common with each other is your greatest love. Make sure the relationship that originates comes from both women putting their child first. When we enter this relationship with our own feelings aside, we can more easily understand the feelings of the other woman who makes up our child’s family.
2. Set Healthy Boundaries
In an adoptive family and birth family relationship, there needs to be a time when limits are discussed for everyone’s sake. When we don’t clearly know what makes someone uncomfortable, we either walk on egg shells until we become exhausted from the tip-toeing, or we bruise the counterpart in the relationship because we constantly step on their toes. If birth and adoptive mommas take time to talk and keep the dialogue always open, each woman is heard and understood for their roles in the child’s life. When relationships are built on honest communication, both people can work together and respect each other all the more.
3. Be Flexible
We all have that one friend who cannot handle change very well. Watch out when you’re around them the first time they go to the grocery after it’s been rearranged! But, how much more pleasant is the friend who, when you can’t help but throw a wrench in their plans, jumps on board for whatever comes next with so much grace and compassion? This is the attitude we need to practice when supporting our child’s birth/adoptive momma. Put our self in their shoes. Grant compassion when we would want it also. Offer grace when she doesn’t understand and patience when she needs time.
4. Find Out What She Likes
When forming a relationship with any woman, our goal is to become better acquainted with what interests her. Be excited for the new job she just started or the trip she got to take. Send the avid reader a best-seller you think she would enjoy, and ask the woman who loves to bake if she has any favorite recipes to share. Your child will be the #1 priority in the relationship between a birth and adoptive mom, but then make each other #2. Being an advocate for each other strengthens the bond and encourages one another in this journey you have embarked on together.
5. Learn Her Needs
Sometimes with friendships between even the best of friends, you need space. You need time to recharge, take a break, and appreciate what it was about her that connected the two of you in the first place. Other times, she may need extra support and encouragement. There may be a day when she really wants to get an extra picture of her child to ease her pain or schedule a phone call for a quick boost. Getting to know this lady will make it easier to be the friend she needs.
One of the greatest friendships we can foster and embrace in our adoption journey is the mother who makes up the other side of our child’s story. When considering what Women’s Friendship Day means to you, make an effort to advocate for her.
Jill is a 32-year-old wife and mom. She has been married to her husband, Brannon, for eight years and has 5-year-old and 1-year-old daughters. Jill and her husband are currently in the adoption process to bring another baby into their home. Jill lives in a small community in Kentucky. She has her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Spanish and obtained her Master’s degree in Christian Ministries. Jill’s passions are her faith, her family, writing, playing sports, and eating good food.