Adoptive Parents, Please Read: "The Other Mother"

Think of all the little things that make up your day. Think of the times you smiled at your children, gave them a little hug, shared a laugh with them, admonished, taught. Thousands and thousands of little experiences, together a lifetime. Imagine them gone, lost. Imagine them never lived.

Read The Other Mother, from Kim Kim's Reunion Writings

How much healing would occur if this adoptive mother faced her fear of her daughter's first mother, and opened her heart to the relationship her daughter clearly wants to have. And how liberating for her daughter to no longer have to choose between two people so important to her.

An adoptive relationship is damaged when the adoptee feels forced to choose between parents, or to feel guilty about their desire to know their first family. Yet adoptive parents may be wary of first families' motives, and are certainly concerned about the impact of reunion on their children's emotional well-being. For not every reunion brings joy; recrimination, anger, disrupted lives may be a part of it. So it's understandable that some adoptive parents, with the best interests of their children at heart, believe the right advice is to reject contact and reunion.

I think, though, that there's a better approach: Don't wait for your children to tell you they want to know their first families, acknowledge that it's OK and important for them to be thinking about them. Be honest about your concerns and fears, and share them with your children. Offer your guidance, be there to support. Meet the challenges as they come, that's all we can do with any of life's surprises. And make the leap of faith. For to know the past and the people in it, and to take them into the future - that's something that can heal and comfort us all.


Jennifer said…
I can't thank you enough for your kind words. It means a lot to me. I thank you also for recommending Kim's post from January. How appropriate for me to read that this week. All that I can say is that I am so grateful that God blessed me and my husband with the openness to continue this relationship throughout Emma's childhood and beyond. I can honestly say that I cannot imagine my life without E, P and S. They are just as much a godsend to me as they feel that we are to them. It's not just the first family and adoptee who benefit from closeness and contact. Adoptive parents do, too. Would I have thought this when we started the adoption process? No. I can distinctly remember thinking that I would be more comfortable if we never met. I know now that this was my ignorance and fear speaking. Thank God E and her parents wanted to meet us. What a wasted opportunity that might have been.

I am a midwesterner, too! Good old Grand Rapids is where I call home. But, my part of Virginia does not have traffic, it has mountains and country folk instead. If you can't take it any longer, give Roanoke a try.
Margie said…
My mom's a Yooper, from Calumet, God's country - like Roanoke :)

Thanks for stopping by, hope you come back. And keep talking, especially about how your relationship with your daughter's first family has enriched your life as well as hers. That voice is needed badly in this discussion!

As an adoptee let me just say, "AMEN"! Great post, I wish my parents would have understood that!
Shoshana said…
Margie, you know me from SofA as Shoshana (Elizabeth). I'm an adoptee in reunion for 20 plus years, and an adoptive mother to a Guatemalan child. Your writing is excellent and your philosophy is outstanding. You should truly consider writing a book to help other adoptive parents understand these issues.
Margie said…
Thanks, Shoshana, I really appreciate your thoughts. I think more and more a-parents are beginning to understand, but there's a long way to go. So much reform is needed, it's hard to know where to start. But if people keep sharing their experiences and thoughts, I think change will happen.

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