This guest post is by Lynea, a birthmother.
I created Life After Placement because of my experience as a birth mother.
I have many of those experiences over the 26 years since placing but today I want to discuss the honesty that must take place as adoptive parents.
The one thing we should all expect is that many of our children will someday want to re-unite with the birth mother/father.
This is a normal desire. We all have a need to know where we came from.
Adopted children can be brought up by the greatest people in the world and will love you for that but they will also want to know their biological history.
Too many adoptive parents read this as a sign of rejection but that is rarely the case.
Where they came from, what their ancestry was, and some of the things that they do which seem different from their adopted family will be of great interest.
They want to know why they are who they are, both biologically and environmentally, the two things which guide our lives.
In the social media enhanced world we live in now, children have a vast amount of information available to them.
Ancestry organizations provide so much detail that finding a biological past is very feasible and increases all of the time.
If the desire to know where they came from is driving them, they will find roads open.
The last thing you want them to do is find out that all they have been told in their life is a complete fiction.
Through my work with the adoption community I see that so many adoptive parents feel great insecurities with the adoptive child.
I have engaged in many discussions on how much interaction should take place with the birth parents if any.
I try to be very blunt and tell them today’s adoptions are mostly open.
You need to come to terms with this because not doing so will complicate so much of the child’s life as well as yours.
Don’t start out with commitments you have no intent on keeping.
Just like a marriage, misrepresentation will destroy those we love.
Truth always has a way of coming out and in today’s world of instant information it’s even more critical.
I placed when adoptions were mostly closed. I was told I would be allowed to read some information about the adoptive parents and choose but once I did I would never be in contact with them or my baby again.
Because I could not accept placing my child with no knowledge of the future I choose to place without any agencies involved.
I spent endless time looking for the right couple for my baby. I finally came across a couple who I felt were right for my baby.
They appeared so genuine and good. They had little money but did have the hearts I was looking for.
I wanted this child to have everything I was not able to give.
We bonded through the remainder of my pregnancy staying engaged and insuring each other this bond would stay forever.
After placement they did stay in contact but always kept me at a distance making sure I had no ability to physically locate them.
Phone conversations with the mother and a small yearly picture were my reward.
I didn’t take this as odd and wanted to make sure they had all of the time needed to raise this girl as they saw fit.
It took me years to find out how I was painted by them but eventually after reuniting our daughter did confess to all of it.
I was amazed that a couple who had been so benevolent when we met and promised a shared life with our daughter could be such dishonest people.
I fell in love with this couple and wanted them to raise my baby. To me they were perfect but apparently had motives I was not aware of.
They did great harm to a child by misrepresenting themselves in all ways and a need to own her pushed them to create a confused young woman who made bad decisions because of all the smoke and mirrors.
Our daughter was told she was biologically her adoptive father’s spawn and the stepdaughter of her mom who he married after divorcing the woman who abandoned him.
I was made out to be a total loser and tramp. Many times when my daughter got in trouble, their response would be that she was just like her loser mom, who gave her up and ran away from the obligations.
Besides lying to her, they managed to ingrain in her the idea that she had biological genetics to be just like her worthless birth mom.
But she wanted to know this worthless tramp and drove them to submission through a lot of pain and misery.
When she would mess up their common comment was “You were not raised this way, it must be inherited”.
Our re-uniting was not a storybook adventure in any way. As you would think, the first meeting was uncomfortable at best.
As the years progressed things only got worse. She became pregnant and at that point the adoptive mother decided I was not to be a part of any of the grandchild’s life.
Again, they ostracized me and made me to be a poor example of anyone our daughter should be engaged with.
I was so confused on why they would act like this when my desire was to help them, not harm them.
They had consoled in me the pain they were feeling from her actions and I wanted to do all I could to reinforce their rightful position as her parents.
My confusion led me to seek help and investigate the mentality of such actions.
The more I studied and talked with professionals it finally became apparent that they were insecure with their role.
I was a threat even though I done nothing to make that assumption.
I do think our daughter worked them but I always let them know I had no intention of replacing them.
My role was not as the parent and never could be. This did little to alleviate the huge gap between us.
Today’s adoption process is much more open and it is harder to hide the true story but some will try.
I ask you to consider this precious gift another woman was willing to place in your hands and be honest with them.
As a birth mother I knew placing my baby would mean others would raise her, make life decisions for her and be her support system.
I was not going to jeopardize that agreement at all and to this day, I still place them as the parents.
But we made a pact when I picked them as the ones who should have that responsibility to keep me as someone who would be honored for my part in the creation.
You need to be honest with your child. Trying to create a falsehood that they are biologically yours will come back some day to bite you hard.
People have a sense of how they fit. If there is a reason they seem to be the odd one out, you need to help them know they were brought into your life because you so desired to have them but they were a gift from a wonderful woman who knew they would be much better off with you.
Celebrate the birth mother because some day she will need to also face the reality of her decision. By doing so you can both say that you love this child without reservations.
I do have a lot more to offer on this subject and would be very happy to engage through media, speaking engagements and other social outlets.
If you have an interest, please feel free to contact me. I now dedicate my life to finding help for birth mothers as well as providing collaboration to the adoptive community as the voice for birth mothers.
Lynea is a birth mother of 25 years who has been reunited with her daughter for 12 years. Along with her other interests, she is passionate about helping other birthmothers to cope with the daily challenges of life after placing a child. Learn more about Lynea and the birthmother support group she founded at Life After Placement.
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