Friday, December 23, 2011

A Plea.... For Adoptive Parents

(I might piss some people off tonight but ultimately, I've decided that that's ok with me ;-) This is ONLY directed toward those first parents and adoptive parents who are involved in an OPEN adoption....)

I have had the privilege and complete honor of getting to know 11 birth moms this year alone... I consider them friends. These women, along with our own baby-girl's First Mom, have sacrificed what is good and pure and right for them in order to give someone else what they could not.

They're amazing... they're inspiring... they're strong (even though I know they feel weak, sometimes)...

and Christmas is one of the most difficult times of year for every one of them.

As special as it is to you... it's equally as bitter-sweet for them.

Adoptive Parents (mainly Moms because that's who most of you are ;-))~

(Please keep in mind that this is directed toward those AP's who have agreed to an OPEN relationship with their child's birth-parents, where there is some sort of contact, however limited it may be...)

There is another woman in this world who loves your child.... she is the ONLY other person in the world who's love for your child can even compare to YOUR'S. She, too holds the kind of love in her heart that a mom has for her child. You know the love I'm speaking of.... it's deep and sometimes so intense that it hurts.

Maybe your 'open adoption' consists of contact once a year. Maybe it's a few times a year. Maybe you meet in person from time to time. Maybe you email each other, or chat on the phone, or text once in a while. How often you connect and how isn't what matters....

For the past 2 weeks I have been emailing back and forth with 3 hurt, broken, and disappointed First Moms. Not ONE of them doubts the love their child's parents have for their child. Not ONE of them wishes they had made a different decision. Not ONE of them hates or dislikes their child's parents...

 And not ONE of them has been granted the opportunity for a picture, or letter, or face to face with their child... with your child. That means that WE, adoptive parents, have failed in some way. While in some cases contact around Holiday's wasn't 'agreed' upon, it is hoped for by every birth-parent I know and that makes me fairly comfortable stating that it is hoped for by EVERY birth mom in an open adoption... YOUR child's, included.

One mom I've spoken to is in what was decided to be (before baby was born), an open adoption. While I know better than anyone that there are always 2 sides of a story, here's this mom's side of the story; as soon as her baby's parents left the hospital, she became an in entity. She's had very little contact, other than a short, once-a-month email and a picture or two. A couple years ago, I would have thought that was enough... maybe more than enough. My opinion has changed.

She emailed her baby's parents a few weeks ago to ask if they could find a time when she could give her daughter the Christmas gifts she had chosen for her.

Their response?

"The Holiday's are busy and we don't have time to meet."

Christmas was a specific Holiday that they all agreed would be a time they would get together each year, at the very least.

Another mom? Her baby is less than 2 months old and her baby's parents said that they would contact her so that they could get together BEFORE Christmas. Today is Thursday, Christmas is Sunday, and she hasn't heard a word.

These Mom's have amazing attitudes and perspectives; Holiday's are busy for everyone. They have lots of family to see over the next few weeks. I can't ask them to travel at this time of year.... etc.

So, here I am, trying my best to speak to other moms who's children have First Moms;

Have you sent your family and friends Christmas cards this year? Maybe your child has made a special craft for his/her grandparents over their Holiday break. Did you write friends and family a card or send your child's picture with Santa to special people in your lives? Maybe you did something as simple as posting a picture of your child screaming while sitting on Santa's lap on Facebook (I've seen SO many of those...they're my favorite ;-)).

Did you make one or two extra and send them to your child's First Parents? Maybe Christmas wasn't included in your 'schedule' of contact but....

Why not? What can it hurt to stick an extra copy in the mail or order one extra family Christmas card?

Can I tell you something that I've learned this year?

Sending that card or making one extra special craft won't hurt anything or anyone.... it's NOT going that extra inch (because the effort involved really doesn't equal a mile) that will hurt someone.

It has the potential to hurt one of the most influential, special, wonderful people you'll ever meet;

The person who gave you your child.

Maybe you did send a thoughtful gift or order an extra card, buy an extra stamp, help your child make one extra special craft... if you did, 'THANK YOU' on behalf of all of the moms I know!

If you didn't... it's not too late.

These moms, no matter how long ago they placed a child in someone else's arms, are vulnerable to every decision you make... and let me tell you; WE, us adoptive parents, hold the power to crush a mom on one of the most special, exciting times of year;

(I think birthday's rank right up there, too!)

Will you do me a favor?

No matter your 'agreement'. No matter your level of openness (as long as it's open). No matter where or who your child's First Parents are...

will you go the extra inch and at the very least stick something in the mail? Make it special.... make THEM feel special.

Yes. I'm begging you. I have seen the broken hearts of women who have been denied the chance to just see even a picture of their child this year... and for some of them, a picture is what they desire more than anything. Maybe you send pictures but haven't met for lunch in a while... try to find time to do it now.

You'll be giving your child a special gift, too; a memory and pictures that will last forever.


** I recognize and appreciate that 'openness' can be a somewhat scary thing for adoptive parents, even if it IS what we agreed upon when we brought our children home. I am in NO way the best at reminding Hannah's birth parents of how special they are but I do try... even when it's not a Holiday. There's always more that I could do and these special moms I've gotten to know have inspired me to work harder at making sure Hannah's birth parents NEVER doubt for a second how healthy, happy, secure Hannah is, much she is loved, and how much THEY are loved! 

I have noticed that many of us struggle with what is 'appropriate' when it comes to small tokens that remind our child's first parents that they are special so I'd like to start posting some ideas; they're simple, affordable, and simply send the message that even though you are now this child's parents, his/her first parents (and their hearts) still matter, too. Will you help me?!

Here's what we made with Hannah this year and sent to grand-parents, aunts, uncles, and her birth parents... simple, easy, and now proudly displayed on many refrigerators (her birth parents', included!)

(We bought this set of 15 at Michaels (COUPON HERE) and you can get them for every special occasion you can imagine... so easy for our 3 year old to make and so fun)

Do you do something special for the birth parents in your life on special Holidays? Please share your ideas with me... I am always looking for creative ways to show that we love them!


  1. I'm going to do this today, Lindsay! I do send Hank's birth parents our family Christmas card but this looks like such a special 'something exra' and he would have so much fun making them! Thanks for advocating for both sides of the adoption process and for reminding me that the world of people who love Hank like we do is slightly bigger through it :-)

  2. As if I haven't cried enough over the past couple of weeks! You're right; Christmas is so hard. I look forward to it and I dread it at the same time.

    Thank you for always listening to me. While I might not be completely fullfilled in my relationship with my daughter's parents, I do love them all and I hope that your words might change things for even one adoption relationship. I think this would all be worth it if just one family could change and one mom could start to heal.

    Merry Christmas to you and your family!

    ~ R

  3. It brings me joy to know that some birthmoms will have happy memories this Christmas. I am thankful for you adoptive moms who remember us. Through phone calls, emails, cards, letters and even in person visits.

    Thank you to all of you who are so considerate of us all year and especially during this special time of year.

    Merry Christmas!


  4. Thanks for your comments, ladies! I have received 3 emails from AP's so far who have all committed to being better about spontaneous contact with their child's First Parents this year! I'm hoping that we can start a new trend :-)

    I pray for you girls daily... that your child's parents would remember and appreciate the role you play in their child's life. You're all so special... I pray that they can see that, too!

    Love you!


  5. Breaks my heart that A parents can be so reckless and careless with such important relationships. What a tragedy.

  6. Thanks for the reminder! I know that our son's birthparents enjoy seeing and hearing about even the little things in life. Just this morning I sent our son's birthparents a text with a picture just because.

  7. We are in the process of trying to adopt, and the more research we do, the more we look forward to having an open adoption, at whatever level the birthmom is comfortable with. It is not the mindset we started this process with, but it seems to be a most beautiful opportunity for all involved. Any advice on how best to be found by a birthmom that wants an open adoption?

    Thank you!


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