Why Adoptive Parents Need To Know And Respect Their Child’s Birthmother

This guest post is by Faith Getz Rousso, an adoptee and adoption attorney.

In full transparency, I wear a lot of hats. I am a mom to two biological sons and an adoption attorney who has been involved in hundreds of open adoptions.

I was also adopted into a loving family that never expected me to know my biological family.

Fifty-plus years ago, I was placed with my family by an adoption agency. My family was matched based on demographics.

Both families shared the same nationality, same religion, and many of the same physical characteristics. As I was told, “I was the most beautiful baby there… I was chosen.” 

This was really big shoes to fill.  I spent most of my formative years wondering if I met my family’s expectation of the “Chosen” one.

Was I still the most beautiful? The smartest? The one that blended the best? I challenged this many times over life…

At 23, I reached out to the agency, and asked about my biological family. They introduced me to my biological mother. This was very unusual.

Thirty years later I finally understand how this happened.  The agency suggested I submit an application to the state for non-identifying info and send them a copy of my request.

Then, the agency gently reminded my biological mother that the adoption registry existed. She submitted her authorization to the state to release her information and sent a copy of her release to the agency.

The agency introduced me to the woman who gave birth to me. And my parent’s world was shattered.

They adopted me. I was theirs. I belonged to them. How, they wondered, could I allow my birthmother to enter into my world?

They felt threatened.  I still hear my dad’s voice, “We didn’t do enough for you?” 

He questioned why would I seek out this woman, why I would want to know her when they were ones putting food on the table, clothes on my back, rubbing my back when I was sick, wiping my tears and paving the way for my future. I can still hear the pain in his voice and see the tears in his eyes.

Fast forward. My birthmother and I met. I rejected her. I couldn’t bear the pain I inflicted on the parents who chose me, provided for me, and gave me opportunities that I grew up thinking I would never have.

She had another daughter. When we met, her daughter was 9. Now, she is 39.  I follow their lives on Facebook. I attempted to know her daughter. I was rejected.

I tried to re-connect to my birth mom, I was rejected.  The painful part? Her daughter did have the same opportunities I had.

Her daughter did go to college and to law school. Interestingly and ironically, she went to the same college as my brother and the law school where I went undergrad. 

I share my experience and my broken dream to openly respect the woman who gave me life—to witness firsthand the relevance of my genes and to give my family the opportunity to know the woman who blessed my family with a daughter they longed for.

Pay it forward. I do what I do each day in hopes that my clients embrace the opportunity to know their children’s first mother—to embrace who she is and what she will become. 

I encourage my clients to allow their children to know and respect her and to embrace the miracle of life that she placed in their hearts. 

As to my birth dad, that’s another story

Faith Getz Rousso, Esq. is a private adoption attorney with a practice in Garden City, NY.  She is an adult adoptee and a mother of two boys with many years of family law experience. 

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