Do you ever wonder about the importance of your child’s birthmother being in their life? I cannot speak for every adoptee; however, there are many adoptees that have expressed they need and want their birthmother in their life. Open adoption makes this possible to a certain degree, depending on the state where the adoption took place, and the adoptive parents. However, there are many opposed to the idea that an adoptee needs their birthmother in their life. They believe an adoptive mother can satisfy the role without their child ever needing to know their birthmother. This is not to say as an adoptive mother you will never be all your child needs you to be as their mother. This is meant to convey there is an important place in a child’s heart that is indescribable, and only a birthmother can fill that place. This is why adoptees search for their birthmother.
Adoptees need to know that they are loved and were loved when they were placed for adoption
One of the hardest battles an adoptee will ever have to face is wondering whether his or her birthmother loves them. It is commonly said that birthmothers place their child for adoption ‘out of love’. However, to an adoptee, it may mean just the opposite. Adoptees may begin to form feelings of rejection and wonder what could possibly have been so bad that their birthmother couldn’t fight for him or her and raise them. These are all answers only a birthmother can really tell their child. An adoptee needs to know from their birthmother in order to confidently accept it, knowing it is genuine. Otherwise, if an adoptive mother were to tell their adopted child that they were placed out of love, that child may not believe it thinking that their adoptive mother is trying to not hurt their feelings or to protect them.
The need for basic trust
For many, basic trust is broken once a mother places her child for adoption. This is when the feelings of abandonment, loss, and grief develop. This is also when children begin to ask themselves, Why me? Why wasn’t I good enough? It can begin to feel that of all the people in the world, the one woman a child should trust has turned her back. It is a hard place to be. How do you begin to trust people to love you and remain in your life without feeling like they will leave? The ultimate trust has been broken.
Basic trust needs to be restored between an adoptee and a birthmother in order for many adoptees to be able to move forward with their life, their marriage, their relationships, and in their careers. If you know anything about adoptees, you will know that there are many who are “runners”—in search of basic trust and love from anyone. The truth is, the love he or she is searching for is from their birthmother.
Belonging and fitting in
I don’t think there is an adoptee in the world that ever felt they fit in one-hundred percent with their adoptive family, even if they loved them “to the moon and back.” To be clear, that’s just my opinion. It is natural. It is an adoptee thing. We can argue that everyone, adopted or not, has felt they did not belong or fit into their family at some point, and jokingly said they thought they were adopted too. However, when you are adopted it is different. Especially if you are the only one adopted into a family that has biological children and you look nothing like anyone in your family. It sucks not being able to look at your parents and say that you look more like your mom, or you have your dad’s blue eyes. Identity is everything, especially in your teenage to early adult years. We all know that. Feeling like you don’t fit in can develop into a painful journey. It can lead an adoptee on a never-ending search for a place to call home, or people that will accept him or her without judgment. This search can sometimes lead to some very wrong places, or to joining cliques that are harmful to oneself including drugs, alcohol, abuse, prostitution.
Belonging or fitting in means being loved unconditionally, feeling accepted and secure. Adoptees need to know their birthmother loves them, even if their adoptive family is raising them and loves them very much. It doesn’t change the love for either family. Matter of fact, it strengthens it. When an adoptee knows and understands they are loved and have always been loved, it increases the odds of having a successful life with positive people surrounding them. It is the unknown that drives adoptees, and people in general, to bad places. This is why open adoption is important to adoptees and the success of a positive adoption experience.