It is not up to adoptive parents to “fix” their child’s birth mother or birth father. That is not what most want or expect.
They do, however, deserve our understanding.
Of all the members of the adoption triad (adoptee, adoptive parent, and birth parent), we hear least from birthparents. There are probably lots of reasons for this, not the least of which is shame. That was why I was particularly happy to find Jill, a really great first mom blogger at The Happiest Sad. She is funny, insightful, and one heck of a writer!
Jill placed her daughter in 2009. She now has “a career of sorts, an apartment, a car, and mental health….” and she knows way too many birth moms who can’t say the same.
Since she’s considered a “success”, social worker and adoptive parents have asked her what helped her and what can they do to help the birth mothers they care about. Ahh, the burden of success! Jill’s insight is worth reading.
I’m expected to have some exclusive insight as a birth mother. But all I can think of is how right after placement, there was almost no help on earth for me – not that there was none offered, but that nothing worked. The only thing that made me happy was seeing my baby girl and how well she was doing. I lived for her and for those moments. Other than that, there was too much going on to be helped by any single entity or program. I had too many different issues.
That’s the real gist of it, isn’t it? There are always too many things going on in a birth mother’s life. We can talk all we want about how there ought to be support and programs to help women who have just placed a child for adoption deal with that issue. And I’m not saying those things aren’t important. But what we’re forgetting is that so often, an unplanned pregnancy isn’t the overarching problem. It’s a symptom. When a woman is facing an unplanned pregnancy in the kind of situation where she’s considering and choosing adoption, the pregnancy isn’t her problem. If you want to help a birth mom, you have to realize that. …
Not that there’s ever one single underlying issue. There are dozens. Low self-esteem, co-dependence, abuse, depression, anxiety, daddy issues … sometimes it’s a combination. But part of what makes placement so gut-wrenching is that you’ve got the grief of placing a child layered on top of these other issues that were never treated. In my personal experience, if you want to help a birth mom, you have to help restore her sense of self-worth.
Doesn’t that take your breath away! Please read the rest of her great blog: If You Want to Help a Birth Mother.
P.S. Creating a Family maintains lists of “the best” adoption blogs divided by adoptee, type of adoption, country, and birth mothers, birth families, birth fathers. I strongly recommend that you add a few birthparent blogs to your regular reading.
Image credit: Melissa Segal