Welcome and pull up a chair, grab a nice cup of tea or coffee, and please help yourself to some of the goodies we have for this book tour. The book was written by the wonderful Lori and is "The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption".
The term “Real
Mother” or “Real Parents” comes up quite frequently in an adoptee’s life.
Lori suggests in her book that we see each set of parents (birth and adoptive)
as “Real”. Do you agree? How would you personally handle this
terminology? And are there other ways to effectively deal with this term if
used by your child or directed at your child by another?
As a step-parent, I frequently struggle with this terminology. My step-child's mother is her mother. I'm also her mother is many ways. We both have earned the title, but she calls her mother, Mom and me April. In terms of adoptees and their birth and adoptive parents, I see both as real mothers. The adoptive mother is the parent who is there for every step from birth forward, who loves this child with all of their heart. She is the day to day parent, the one who is there for the child at all times. This does not mean that the birth or first mother is not a mother. She was the one who was there giving the child life and laboring to bring the child into the world. She loved the child so much that she gave her child to another person to raise and love. I would not feel hurt or betrayed if a child that I adopted referred to their birth mother as their mother because it is true. I would also encourage and try to help the child understand the pieces and parts that made up their family so that they would feel comfortable answering questions and explaining about their family, because in an open adoption everyone is family.
Lori refers to the
relationship between adoptive parents and birthparents as similar to an in-law
relationship. Does thinking about the relationship as an in-law
relationship influence how you approach open adoption?
Looking at the relationship as that of an in-law relationship does make it an easier one to process. With your in-laws, you treat each other with respect and open your heart to adding these new members to your family. You don't always have to agree with the choices and decisions that they make, but you forge a connection with them because you both love their son / daughter. It's the same concept for a birth parent. You both love the child. You make the connection with each other because of the child. This doesn't mean that you have to love every thing that the birth parent does or that you have to agree with all of their choices. You still have the right to assert your thoughts and feelings as the parent of the child. However, treating the birth parent with respect helps keep the lines of communication open and keeps the child as the most important part of the equation.
Please return to the main post to read more opinions on Lori Holden's The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption.