Talking about Openness

Openness, results of survey sent to our local adoptive couples

For Birth Parents, as you read the responses, please also remember:

Some of these answer show hints of insecurity, and I have left them here for our birthmothers to see that many couples do experience it. To the credit of our adoptive couples, however, sometimes they themselves don’t realize they will feel insecure until it hits them after the baby is born and they are adjusting to a new relationship with you as their child’s birthmother. The important thing is for everyone to try their hardest and see the positive that can come from these relationships rather than focus on potential negatives. Unless someone is a danger to the other person, it's hard to see any reason for communication to EVER be cut off. Just remember that it is a two-way street and as a birthmother you need to reciprocate contact if you want it to continue.
Also remember that if you bring the birthfather into the relationship with you and the adoptive parents, do not put your couple in the middle and expect them to take sides if things sour between you and the birthfather.
Help your parents and extended family maintain healthy boundaries with your adoptive couple.

Communication is key! Some couples appreciate the birthmother asking for visits, others prefer to offer the invitation for visits themselves. As each birthmother is different, so are couples! Discuss these things with your couple, and couples please discuss them with your birthmother.
For Adoptive Couples, remember that adoption is an alternate route to becoming a parent. It does not replace or cure infertility. If you seek adoption hoping it will take away the grief you may feel about not being able to conceive and bear children, you will find that it will not. You will likely experience insecurity in your open adoption if you have not come to terms with infertility. Giving birth to a child makes you a parent. Adopting a child makes you a parent. Seek adoption for that purpose: to make you a parent. It is not healthy to adopt in hopes of erasing your child's biological connections.
 In adoption there are additional adults in your child's life who love them more than words can say. Even if circumstances in their lives make full openness unlikely, welcome any love they have to offer rather than fight it, and your child wins!

1. Has your birthmother done anything after placement that has made you uncomfortable?

We had a birthmom abort her next child. I was extremely sad and upset, but other than that, no.

With both of our open adoptions we have left the amount/timing of visits up to the birthmother(s).  I find it uncomfortable when I don't know how they are doing or what they need and they have expectations or wishes for contact that they don't voice until later.  

Nothing at all and we have a very open adoption.

Not really. She was going to make a trip to come to our little girl's baby blessing and then changed her mind because she said she wanted it to be a special day we could spend with each other and our families. We were fine with either choice she made but I think she would've felt more uncomfortable than we would have.

Always remember that no matter what your relationship is with the BF, the adoptive couple has a seperate relationship with the BF and it needs to be respected. Even if the BM doesn't like the BF or they are not together anymore, the adoptive couple has made agreements with the BF regarding visits, openess, etc... and these need to be respected. On one of our visits with our birthmother we “accidentally” went to the same location as some of the birthfather’s extended family members. The birthfather had told us that he was not comfortable with us having contact with his extended family and we have always honored his wishes. We felt our own wishes were not honored when our birthmother set up this “chance” meeting.

No she hasn't. She has been really great about boundaries and respecting my wishes.

Our birthparents wrote letters to our son (at our request) and referred to themselves as Mommy, Daddy, mother and father. I did not think that was appropriate. We are fine with them saying biological/birth/natural parent but not the basic word. That is who we are.

They invited us over for our son’s birthday and also invited their other friends after we said we would come. Being over for his birthday was great, but having everyone else there made us uncomfortable. We were a spectacle.Our birthparents asked if they would be invited to our home since they had invited us to their home. We were not ready for that. Another thing that made me uncomfortable was in regards to the video of placement. We thought they agreed to send us the video of when he was placed with us. We didn't get any pictures with our camera. After I asked a second time, they got really upset, saying how dare I ask for that and not to ask again. I didn't think is was out of line, being that it was our shared experience, but now I wish I would have given the agent my camera. I only have my memory and our pictures afterward to document the event. Others things that would have made me uncomfortable: asking our last name, address, workplace. If they would have just "showed up" somewhere, I would be uncomfortable.

No she hasn't. She has been really great about boundaries and respecting my wishes.

No, but my wife was made a little uneasy by her designation as "the nice lady who adopted Amanda's child" (as opposed to my designation as father/dad) and the general feeling of competition for the role of "mother" made manifest in the comments of the birth mom's mom.

Not directly by her actions. Her relapse into her previous lifestyle and lack of contact has saddened us.

Our birth mom has not done anything different then we had agreed upon. She has been really good that way.

Not really, though as she has gone farther from the placement things have been easier for me to open up to her about. She has a second child that she chose to parent and I have questioned her about what she may say to our son when the time comes about why he chose to place him and not the second son. I hope one day we can communicate about the two boys and know what to tell them.

2. Are there things your birthmother has said or done after placement that have strengthened your relationship?

I like it when they talk about why they chose our family. I like to know that I have their trust.

Yes, lots of things.  When they express confidence in their decision of placing.  When they express their love and thoughts about their child being in the right home with the right family.  Communication is huge.  The more we email, text, talk etc. the stronger the relationship becomes and the more comfortable everyone is.  Both of our girls birthmothers have talked about how grateful and happy they are to see their child grow up and be loved and happy in our home.  Our birthmothers have also been sweet about sending a mother's day card a father's day email etc. in which they say the things they really like about how we parent.  My absolute biggest concern or worry with regards to our birthmothers is that they would regret their decision or be unhappy about it.
Both our birthmoms are considerate about all of our children and they play and interact with all of them, not just the child they placed.  They are sincere in how they interact and speak with us.

Absolutely. Our son just turned two last week and our birthmother sent a package with a letter to him letting him know that he was always meant to come to his parents but he was also meant to touch her life and be part of her story on earth. She has told us more details of why she picked us and how she feels at peace with her decision and has bettered her life because of him. She wants him to be proud of her and know that he changed her life for the better. Through prayer, we have received specific instruction regarding our son's placement and when we shared these promptings and feelings with our birthmother, it completely matched what her father's blessing stated at the time of placement. She always sends him a birthday and Christmas gift and we love that he will never feel rejected and always understand that she loves him.

She tells us all the time that she is so grateful for us and that she is so happy that our daughter has great parents! This makes us feel good:) We have also met up a couple times since she was born and they have been good visits. Both times it was only about 2 hours long and seemed just right to catch up and chat.

I don't know that I can think of anything specifically. She's been very respectful of us and our role as parents. Has never questioned anything we're doing or how we are doing it, etc. But I think part of that comes because we are respectful of her as well. I don't think the relationship would be as good unless it was a mutual respect and love.

Our BM has two older children (ages 8 and 5). They've been a little confused after the birth of our son of who the mother is. Throughout the pregnancy and every time since our son was born, our BM has corrected her children when they look at her and say to our son, "Go see mama." She says, "She is the mom. Send him to her." We've appreciated that she has said this and helped her children understand the role of each person involved.

Our BM has told us numerous times that she knows she made the right choice is choosing us as the parents of her child. Knowing that she doesn't regret choosing us, even after one year has gone, helps strengthen our relationship of trust with her.

Several times our BM has said, "I'm so glad you are his mother/father."

Our BM has been open with her grieving with us. She said she feels safe with us and knows she can share her true feelings without us judging her or thinking that just because she is sad or struggles with certain situations, it doesn't mean that she regrets her choice. It just means that it's hard. We appreciate her openness and willingness to trust us.

During our first (kind of awkward) meeting after placement, she instantly eased my worries when she simply said, "I think you guys are doing a great job with him." I had never heard another sentence that meant as much to me. I knew she had hit rock bottom after placement and had really struggled with depression. For her to say that after everything she'd been through, I knew she really meant it. She's often still emotional at our once or twice a year visits, and each time I feel so awful and ache for her, but she always leaves us knowing she still feels like placing her son with us was the right thing, no matter how hard it is sometimes for her. Last time we parted, she was crying, but told us she was just so happy and that we were so awesome and she was so grateful we made the effort to visit. Nothing means more!

Sent just pictures and emails at first. They were great about writing back and letting us know how they were doing. That was really important. Once she got upset that I hadn't emailed for about one month, but that was because she didn't respond to our last email. Correspondence is a two-way thing. It is much easier to keep in touch with someone who writes back. Usually they were really great about it.

Not really. We don’t see each other enough--once or twice a year (and call a few times a year). Perhaps the greatest point of strength is our knowledge that she is struggling both spiritually and financially, and probably socially too, and our perception of ourselves as positive role models. We try to show her a positive example of working hard and enjoying a happy gospel-centered life and hope it helps in her struggles. That effort draws us a little closer together.

My advice to birthparents would be not to get upset and start ranting that your child's adoptive parents aren't doing enough, as far as communicating, visiting, sending pictures, etc. Instead ask for more pictures or ask if you can have a picture of something in particular. Ask questions in your correspondence, ask for a specific type of picture, suggest a certain place to go or event to go to, if you are supposed to have visits. Getting upset with them will just cause them a huge amount of grief and will not help your relationship with them or with your child. You are one of the most important people in their life and they want to help you.

When our son was 3 years old, they invited us to their temple sealing. It was a great experience. Our two families got together at McDonalds about a week before for our reunion. So, it was a great get together for the first time since placement. At the temple, most of the family just thought we were friends, so we didn't feel like everyone was staring at us. We could tell who did know because of how they seemed to evaluate our every move. Now we are celebrating mothers day, his birthday, and a day around Christmas together since then.

We have planned fun activities together. We spent a day in Disneyland together, visited the train park, the zoo, a temple open house, and have gone to local restaurants together. The park would be fun too.

The first fathers day (just days after placement) she sent Collin an email wishing him a happy fathers day. I saw it early, so when he got up I had him read it. His first father’s day wishes were from our birth mom. (This is just the first one I can think of, our Birthmother is very willing to strengthen our relationship.)

She told me about the reason she picked us. It really reaffirmed that her placing our daughter was the right thing. She also comes to talk to me if she really needs a visit.

We connected on Facebook, so have her sisters and mother

She is always complimenting me and telling me what a good mother I am - and how she loves that she has made us a family - she has also shown more respect for my position as my son’s mother and that makes me feel more comfortable around her

She allowed us to give her a priesthood blessing. It was a very spiritual experience and she said that it helped to calm her nerves after the transition meeting.

She has been really good at allowing my wife and I to be the parents and not getting involved in any shape or form.

She has always stood behind us in our parenting and always let us be the parents. In fact she has often asked for parenting advise for her second child. She has told us many times that she knows that Heavenly Father chose us to be parents to our son and we have felt that from the day she chose us. She also feels strongly (as do we) that by being open and honest with adoption to our son he will feel loved by her and us in a way a closed adoption could never be. She has let us lead in how often we have contact and then been kind to offer Father's day and Mother's day cards as well as birthday gifts for our son.

3. What do you want your children to learn or feel from their birthmothers?
Love and acceptance. I want them to know that their birth mom LOVED them and wanted them. I do like when the birthmom backs me up on issues we might be having. For example, one of my kids said to her birthmom, "My mom doesn't let me . . ." and her birthmom agreed and said she would make the same choices for the child.

Love.  I want them to see and know that there are many people who love them.  That their being "adopted" is about having more people who love and care about them, not less.  Our birthmothers and their families feel very much like extended family to us.  Our children see them as part of the family.  I want our children to know they can always talk about their birthfamilies and have relationships with them.  I love to see the resemblance (both physical and personality traits) between our birthmoms and our children.  Such as a big huge smile that is exactly like her birthmom.  Or an outgoing, fun personality that is exactly like her birthmom.

We want our son to know that he has always been loved and the decision of adoption was because of the great love his birthmother has for him. We feel it is important for him to know that he was wanted and it was difficult for his birthmother to place to him because she wanted to keep him. However, she knew that placing him for adoption was showing him even greater love and concern to give him what she was not able to give him.

We want them to know that these women love them and that we as their adoptive parents love their birthmother too. I want them to know how strong their birthmothers are and that they can have the same strength, courage, and faith.

I want my daughter to know she was loved by her birthmom. That her birthmom is one of my heroes and that we respect her and her courage so much. I want her to be comfortable talking to us about her and to feel comfortable enough to tell us if she wants more or less time with her birthmother.

We want our son to learn and know that he was so loved that his BM made a very difficult choice to have us be his parents. She could've chosen to parent him, but knew he deserved more than she could offer to him. Learning about the true meaning of love/sacrifice for the better good is our desire for our son. For him to know that his BM is still interested in his life and loves him very much is important to us. We don't feel any threat from our BM that she will try and take over as the mother. We have a respectful relationship where she respects our role as parents. We want our son to know that he can ask his BM questions about her choice and gain reassurance from her that he is where he should be. We want him to feel that he can love her too for giving him life and that that will in no way take away the love he will have for us.

That their reason for placing them was love, that they will always care about them, and that they support us in our parenting. I also always want my children to feel like the way they came into this world was not shameful, but celebrated, and that we're all open to wanting what's best for the child throughout his/her life.

Loved. That our family is where our child is meant to be. That they are happy for him and proud of his accomplishments.

I want my daughter to learn to love her culture, and see that some of her interests and talents are most likely the same as her birth mother. I want her to know that her birth mother placed her for adoption because she loves her so much. I want my daughter to know and feel that love.

I want our daughter to know that she is loved. I want her to learn from her birthmothers past mistakes and not make the same ones. I want her to see how much her birthmother turned her life around and be proud of her just like we are.

Nothing right now, except that there is another person that loves her, but eventually I expect she will see her birth mother's live as an alternative route/course in her life, and I hope she will be able to learn from her birthmother's mistakes.

We want her to feel love, respect, and have an understanding about what her birth other did for all of us.

I just want my son to know he is loved by his birthmother and what she did was out of love so he could have something more - I am hoping that I can use his birthmother's decision to place as a way to teach him of God's love and for his plan

Love...that their being adopted was because their mother loved them more than they could know. I would especially want the birthmother to be able to bear testimony to the spiritual side to their decision to go through with the adoption. I think it is important for the child to know that God's hand was in the decision.

We want our children to know how strong she is and that she did this out of love for them. We have kept all her emails prior to the birth to one day share with them.

4. Do you have fears about in person visits with your birthmother post-placement, if so what are they?
I don't with most. We just had a huge bbq for all the birthparents and their families. It was fabulous. All the birth-families talked to each other and had a great time. We do have some we haven't met with due to some extreme life choices they are making (addicted to Meth for one of the them) and do not want the child exposed to that. But this particular birth mom isn't involved and hasn't tried to communicate at all with us.

No, none.  I used to but the more communication and respect and understanding that we all have for one another the more comfortable and normal it has become. 

Nope. Not at all. Each time we have had visits, she always understands that we are our son's parents. She is so respectful of our role. All visits have been wonderful and we actually meet up with her parents as well when they are in town.


None, the only fear I have is that our biologicial children will not feel as special because they don't have a birthmother. I have worked to make sure that our birthmother knows that our son is a part of our FAMILY and so his siblings are as much a part of her decision as he is. She seems to show the love for them the same and we really appreciate that.

Yes but as our birthmother lives in North Dakota it is not much of an issue. In our agreement she was able to come to you sealing and spend 3 days with us here in AZ and that was the only agreed upon visit. We are not at all worried if we did meet her again at some point in the future.

Only if there were concerns about her being involved in questionable activities. In reality, we really miss her. We miss not having her around to see him grow up and miss not seeing her get back on her feet. Even though she is getting into trouble again, we would still like to see her and have her see him.

No, by then we felt much more secure in our role as parents because the papers were signed. My wife as a little more anxious because she felt some degree of competition for the role of mother.

I never know if I am giving her enough space. I feel like I'm hovering but I do it around everyone and not her. I don't want her to feel like we don't trust her with our daughter. I totally do but I'm nervous when anyone holds her! I think it's just the first time mommy instinct.

Early in our relationship I worried our birth mother would change her mind. She hasn't visited us in person because she feels it is too hard for her. However, the invititaion is always open. Our birth mothers parents have come for a visit--which was great for our daughter and for them. When she is ready, I would love to hug our birthmom in person.

I would not want to have visits until after the adoption was final. This was required at the time of our placement. I don't know if it is still required, but I think it is a good idea. In my opinion it gives the adoptive parents time to bond with their child. I would fear that visits sooner could make the adoptive parents feel less confident.My fear is that we'll do or say something that would ruin the relationship. We had 3 years with no visits because that's what they seemed to want/need. So, I don't know if we can really fully answer this question.

It's hard when our birth mother gets quiet and emotional at visits. She won't talk to us very openly and I worry a lot that I'm doing something wrong that hurts her. I know she obviously trusts us a great deal because she has placed her son with us, and plans to place her daughter with us in the Fall. However, my fears tend to be surrounding how she'll feel and not wanting to make her uncomfortable. To be honest, though, I have sometimes been worried about (and I know this is probably something I will never have to worry about for real) the children's birth father showing up, and not knowing anything about him except that she's been on and off with him for years, I imagine up scenarios in my mind where he is angry. I think just all the unanswered questions and not even ever having seen a picture of him makes him a subject of concern sometimes.

The 1st 6 months I did. But my fears revolved around how the birthmother was doing. How is she doing? Is she okay? Is our visit going to make things worse or better? Is there anything I can do to make things better? Is there anything I'm doing that makes things worse?

We have had about 10 visits in this past year since our son was born with his BM and two with his BF. These have been very comfortable for us and the BM. The tricky parts have been with her two children, mainly the older 8 year old. He struggled for the first few months to figure out the whole adoption thing and what role we each played. We've always encouraged his questions and given him answers. Our BM asked us for help with this as she said she's not sure what to tell him. During the entire pregnancy, we were involved with her 2 children and they knew their mom was placing the baby in our home when he was born. The questions have come more in the past few months from her oldest son (from about when our son was 9 months old). We've explained things several times. Her son has not respected the roles so we've had to talk with our BM and her son about this. Our BM is totally on board with this and says she likes the help we offer in explaining things to her son and holding him to it. We've had to set some clear boundaries with her oldest son (You need to respect our roles and not make comments about us not being the "real" parents, etc...) This has helped. That's our biggest obstacle at the moment. It's nice to have our BM on board though and fully support these roles and to have her expect her other children to respect these roles.
Another little issue that we're watching is to see if the oldest son of our BM will respect our roles. He's really curious and asks if we're going to tell our son that he's adopted. We tell him that he'll know for sure the story and he'll be able to have a relationship with his two older brothers. We've explained to him that it's our job to tell our son about his story and not his job to say things to him. We don't want the older sibling to say damaging things to our son in the future when he can understand. "They're not your real parents." "I know who your real dad is." We know our son will use this verbiage with us when he's in those horrible teenage years but the information regarding the adoption is to come from us. Our advice to BM's who are parenting other children is to be honest with them about the situation (We've always told our BM's two sons that they are a brother to our son, instead of masking it to call them "cousins.") Also, for them to help their children respect the roles of the adoptive couple and to understand that it's not their right/responsibility to share information with the child who is adopted.

5. Do you have worries about ongoing in person contact with your birthmother as your child gets older? Why?

I do worry that it might be confusing for some of them and we have talked to the birth parents about that. The focus is always the child. If it becomes too difficult for the child to handle, we will stop visits. I would prefer not to, but this isn't about me or the birth parents, it is about what is best for the child.

Some.  I have become very close to both our girls' birthmoms and I sometimes worry that our kids may one day want less contact.  I also get concerned that our birthmoms will one day marry and have families of their own and our children may want more contact than their birthmoms are able to give.  Those are "worries" and I doubt they will ever become an issue.

Nope. We all have discussed our ongoing relationship and continue to discuss what we all expect from each other. He will love her kids (when she has more when she gets married) and her kids will love our kids. We believe we are all meant to be a part of each other's lives.

No because our birthmother is very easy to be around, we consider her like a relative that we visit from time to time.

I worry about visits when our daughter is around 4-12. When her understanding is limited. I don't want there to be any confusion for her. When she's old enough to have a better understanding of adoption and why her birthmother placed her I think it will be less worrisome. However our birthmother has also expressed a desire to not be constantly in our daughter’s life as she grows up.

The only concern would be the one stated earlier. If hour birthmom’s older sons don't respect our roles and respect us then we would need to reconsider our relationship. It's all what's in the best interest of our son. If our BM were to make choices that were going to negatively impact our son, then we'd revisit our relationship as it is now. We don't anticipate this to occur but we know if it does then we always have to do what would be best for our son. Since our BM has always respected our roles and respected us a people, we feel very comfortable with future contact. I know our BM has voiced concerns about being able to answer questions that our son may/will ask her about things in the future. We told her that he will always know his adoption story and that we'll help him the best we can to understand. She knows there may be hard questions in the future from him and this makes her a little nervous that he won't understand. We love the fact that our son will be able to go directly to the source and not just have to take our word for how things were/are but that he'll be able to ask his BM about her decisions and feel of her deep love and desires for his life.

No. All the studies I have heard about have shown children do not get confused by openness and that birth mothers do no expect to co-parenting. I am of the belief that birth parents don't go through the pain of separation just to want their child back. They place because they know they can give their child more. I understand that our children's birth mothers placed out of love and not because they thought I deserved a child. I guess the only thing I fear is that we won't have contact forever. Our son's birth mom is very shy and private. She doesn't reciprocate our contact at all. All of our contact is through her mom. I worry about when her mom is not around to facilitate our contact. Our daughter's birth mom asked that we never try to contact her. I hope with all my heart that she changes her mind one day and wants letters and pictures at least. I feel that if I were adopted, I would want the option of contact with my birth family, and want my children to have that option -- particularly because they have bio siblings in the picture.

I would fear as our son gets older that he would somehow feel insecure, but so far it is quite the opposite. I would fear that they/he would want to do things together without us there and that idea makes me uncomfortable.

No, because our birth mother has been so respectful of our role as mom & dad.

I only worry about what we are going to have our daughter call her. I am torn on what we should have our daughter call her. On the one hand, I want to be the only one that is called mother. But that is just my own insecurities. I know that she is a mother also. I am trying to come up with a solution but for right now we are still unsure. I have talked to our daughter's birth mother with this on several occasions and we are trying to come up with something that everyone can agree on.

No, my only concern is the ability to keep contact because the birth mom moves around a lot and changes her number quite a bit. It is hard to keep tabs on her.

I think there is a common irrational fear that your child will someday just say "I don't love/want you anymore, I love her" but that’s common even with natural born children. Hopefully we will support the relationship and help it be a healthy experience for our daughter.

Yes - that is the one thing that concerns me the most - just because I just don't know how it will all go - I don't really want her to come to his sporting events as he is older unless he invites her - also I am concerned about his contact with her via facebook and social media - I almost hope around his 3rd to 5th birthday visits don't continue until our son is 18 (apart from his baptism) and than he can decide to meet her if he so chooses. I guess it really all depends on our son - I don't know if I just want to "protect" him or what, but I worry it may be confusing or cause some kind of identity crisis as most of the adoptive adults I know have recommended to not have contact - I guess it is just fear of the unknown. Yes and no - I want him to know of her and what a great blessing she had provided us - but again I don't feel completely comfortable with him communicating with her until he is older than 18 - again - maybe I'm just uneducated - or maybe I would feel better if I knew a family who has that kind of communication - but again - it all comes down to our son and what he is comfortable with and what is best for him.

No. We realize that she should always be a part of his life. We became really attached to the birthmother through the prenatal period, and reached a point early on where she felt like a part of our family.

Of course we worry about the contact issues, but we feel that our children will know and understand the adoption process and we hope to be able to help them with questions and concerns. We do worry about them contacting their birth mother or father and potentially using them as a sounding board, which could create conflict between us and our children. We hope that we can solidify that relationship with our birthmother so that she will be strong enough to not weigh in on their personal issues and direct them back to us as their parents if contact is made.

Only that he will feel obligated for certain events and not be sure how to cope with uncomfortable situations (like birthfather being in and out of jail). We have had many wonderful experiences so I'm sure the consistent interaction is helping him understand the relationship so he won't wonder and be unclear later.

6. Do you want your child to know their birthmother as they grow up? Why or why not?

Yes, yes and yes. I think reality is always better than fantasizing about what their birth parent might be like. The birth parents are super supportive of our children and it is like one big (huge) extended family. Not only do the birthparents love their own children, but also show interest and love for my other children.

Absolutely.  I think being open and honest about adoption is usually the best thing for a growing child.  They will always have knowledge of where they came from, why they were placed, how much they are loved etc.  There will not be any big unknown fears, doubts and insecurities that have often been a part of "closed" adoptions.

Yes. We believe he will have greater confidence and self esteem knowing the reason of his adoption his whole life. We don't want him to think there are any secrets. Secrets bring shame and there is no shame in his beautiful adoption story. We want him to know the truth so he doesn't have to make up a story of rejection in his own head that isn't true.

I want them to know her and who she is but I think there needs to be occasional visits or calls and not constant contact.

Yes, She is a part of his life and history. We love him more than we can express, but she is an eternal part of his life to and we fell blessed for that. Having another person that loves our son is a blessing. We know that Heavenly Father needs us to know certain people and she has helped us and we want him to know her. Already it's helped him in knowing why he looks the way he does as compared to us as his adoptive family. She has shared in birthdays and Christmases and it's been so nice so far.

We think they should know who she is and what she did for them. As far as a relationship when they are of age it will be up to them to decide how much contact they wish to have. Our kids will know of her and love her.

Absolutely! We feel a little bit of ownership or responsibility in regard to the birthmother because she feels like family. Having her around helps keep our son from questioning why he was placed for adoption and helps us know that despite the trauma of giving up her child to us, she can have a healthy life. That knowledge is very therapeutic for us as adoptive parents.

It depends. I didn't know my birth father growing up, but because of who he was that was a good thing. Our daughter’s birth mother is a sweet, loving girl who could be a positive example and influence. In my mind she would be more like our daughter’s aunt. But the relationship our daughter has with her will always be something that’s special to our daughter. As long as that relationship is healthy then her birth mother will just be one more member of the family. Of course, the fact that she lives in another state does make the whole thing easier.

Yes. I want her to know she was loved, and that her birth mother gave her up to make a better life for our daughter. I want her to have the self confidence from knowing she is loved, and not feel like she was unwanted. That is very important to me.

I definitely want our daughter to know her birth mother and her birth father. I want them to be able to be examples in her life. I want her to never feel like she was abandoned or unloved. I want her to be able to ask direct questions to her birth parents. I also want her to have as much medical information as possible.

We do want our daughter to know her birth mother, as long as our birth mom is ready to have her be a part of her life. It could be confusing (as our daughter may have some developmental delays that could complicate her understanding), but even still we think it would benefit her. Our birthmom loves her so much, and wants the very best for her. I know that being so very loved has been important to our daughter's growth and development. Additionally, there are so many cultural things that our birth mother could share with her.

Definitely!! Having an ongoing relationship with our BM will allow our son access to the other parts of his life. We hope he won't have those empty feelings or feel like a part of him is missing because he'll have his BM to answer his questions. His BF is not very involved but we do have a good relationship with him. He's told us we can always call him if we have questions. I don't think he'll want to visit with our son as he gets older so that may leave our son with some questions or sense of loss since his BM wants to be involved but not his BF.

Absolutely. As I said above, I feel that each child should be celebrated as much as possible, and that means how they got here and their birth family. Personally, it's also selfish. I love my children's birth mothers so much that I always want the option of having contact with them. I wish we had more contact now. I worry that my kids might not feel as much of a need for openness with their birth families as I have. I ache not being able to be in touch with our daughter’s birth mom. Also, it's practical. When my son's eczema first flared up, I called his birth grandma and she immediately sent me what they use on his bio sister and it works like a dream!

Yes. I feel like it will help him to understand who he is. He has more people who love him and want what is best for him. Is birthparents are great people, so seeing them can help with his feelings of self worth. If they did not live according to gospel principles and get along so well with us, then I might feel differently, it would just depend on the situation.

7. Has your birthmother ever said or done anything that made you feel insecure in your role as the parent of your child?
No. But if they fantisized in front of the child about what it would be like if she had parented the child, that would be difficult. Not so much for me, but for the child

No, never.

Nope. We are really blessed. She supports and brags about our parenting to her siblings and friends. She really is amazing and mature.

No, never.

She has always called me mommy with our daughter. She also tells me that she knows that what she did was right and that I was meant to be the mother to my daughter. Just knowing that she does not regret her decision makes me feel so much more secure. I hope that if she ever does feel some sort of regret that she will talk to me or to her counselor so that she can work through her pain.

Never. She's always been very good about respecting our roles and making it known to her children what those roles are.

Only right after placement. She suffers from bi-polar disorder and hit her lowest low the day after placement. We prayed all day for her it seemed, because we knew she was having a hard time. Her case worker called and said she would have taken our son back that day if she could and that if we ran into her we should immediately turn and run. Oh, how I ached for her as we were rejoicing for our son finally being with us!

No. Please realize that simple no is a huge thing. There are so many things that our birth mother could have said. Our daughter has lots of medical needs, delays and therapeutic needs--I'd be shocked if we handled each of these the way she would have chosen. Our birth mom could have been critical of how we are not providing all of the cultural influences she would prefer (we are trying) but she has only been kind and supportive of our attempts. Saying no, seemed too simple an answer, but no--she has never made us feel insecure as parents--even when we've given her reasons to.

No, but then she was very young and didn't have a lot of those skills herself to be able to judge us with.

No, but she has said she's worried about it. She has made me uncomfortable when we are at her son's birthday's because often there is the feeling that she needs to "make up' for the things she missed out with our son. At those times I worry that our son will feel like he could have had this or that with her. But then he loves that he is part of our family and has parents, siblings and an extended family that love him.

Our birthmother was really having a hard time right after placement and was calling and texting, and asking for visits all the time (almost every day). It made it really hard to feel like I was my son’s mother and not just his babysitter. I also felt so sad for her and also guilty about having her son when she wanted him so badly. It really affected my ability to bond with my son. It improved dramatically when she began seeking help from her caseworker.

8. Has your birthmother said or done anything that makes you feel more secure in your role as the parent of your child?

I like it when the birth mom talks about the child to the child. Not how much she misses them and thinks about them (my sister has a child placed at age 6 and all the mom can talk about is how much she misses him and is has been 4 years). I like the focus to be on the child and their life when they are together. That is the most important person in the equation, the rest of us are adults and should be able to put off our needs in lieu of the child's needs.

Yes. The visits have actually helped us to feel more secure.  Our birthmoms don't try to take on a parent role.  As they play and talk and interact with our kids they feel more like a favorite aunt that gets to love, spoil, etc.  We have always told our kids who each person ie. birthmom, birth grandma etc. and we call people by their names.  It is very normal for our family and our children are very clear in who their parents are.  Both our birthmoms have reinforced this open communication in how they speak and interact with our children.

All of the time. She told me that she was our son's mother for 3 days and I get to be his mom forever. Our birthmother's mother restated that blood lines only matter in this life but with temple covenants, the blood lines don't matter after this life. Each card she sends, she restates that our son is where he needs to be and she feels so blessed that she is able to see him grow and see how happy he is.

Yes, one time while visiting with our birthmom and her mom and sisters.... her mom was a little emotional and she said "mom, don't cry, it's like we are visiting a cousin" She makes us feel very comfortable and doesn't ever act as if she is the "mother" of our daughter.

Whenever she is holding our daughter and hands her back to me she always says "Go back to mama". That always makes me feel good for whatever reason. It also makes me feel like she's secure in her decision.

She's always referred to us a mom/dad. She tells us she's so happy she found us and knows we are meant to be the parents of this child. When she expresses her opinion on how we are parenting it makes us feel more secure. ("I can see how much you totally adore him and love him." "He's so loved by all of your family." "You are so gentle with him." etc...) By verbally expressing these things, it validates our role and helps us know that she appreciates us. For her to see the love we have for our son really makes us happy because it validates her decision in placing the child with us. I think that since our BM has been a parent for 8 years already, she knows what it's like to be a parent so she doesn't have unreal expectations. Perhaps a younger BM who has not parented before may not appreciate everything that goes into parenting a child, so educating them on seeing the small things the adoptive couple does with the child and teaching them how to express it to the parents could be very beneficial. Everyone loves a little validation!

Our birthmother is placing a second child with us, and this time she has reached out a tiny bit more, and that makes all the difference to me. She invited me to come hear the baby's heartbeat at her next appointment since we'll be visiting in UT then, and it's a once in a lifetime opportunity dream come true for me to be included. I know she is offering even though it might be a little out of her comfort zone. I appreciate that effort so much!She has said that she know he is supposed to be with us. That she admires us as parents. She asks us parenting advice. They received a spiritual confirmation that we are supposed to be his parents.

Yes, I unintentionally sprung some serious news on our birth mother, and she was concerned "for our family". Even being caught without time to think of her answer, she said exactly the most supportive thing.

No, but I am not one to really care what other people say or think. I'm pretty secure in my identity and relationship to my daughter so it does not matter to me what anybody--even birthmother--thinks about my role as parent. I know I love my daughter, she loves me, and I take good care of her. The birthmom does refer to me as the dad, which is nice, but does not really matter too much in terms of my security in that role.

Not "said". She has, for the time being, limited her contact with us. If that’s what she needs, then ok. When our daughter gets older and expresses a desire to know her birth mother, then we know that our family's relationship with her will change, hopefully for the better.

Again - she is constantly telling me what a great mom I am and she is no longer trying to share her grief with me which has helped me focus more on our son rather than worry about her - I really feel now we are at a point where she understands this isn't a co parenting thing which I felt she thought it was right after placement

Anytime she has been around us and reconfirmed that she knows she made the right decision about us and her child reminds us that miracles happen and that God's hand is in our lives. She almost can't say it too much.

She has said several times, "I have prayed and I know they are your children." "I was certain once I met you on the phone and more so in person." "I know you have prayed me to you." "I know you will be the best parents to the twins." "These babies are meant for your home." "I love them and I know I am a great mom, but Kristie will take care of that for me." Lastly, One thing that really helped us both out was to write down what each of us expected we took each others lists and thought and prayed about them then went back to each other and agreed on things. I think it works both ways but we never promised anything that we could not follow through with.

She has stood behind me a couple of times when our son mentioned "my birthmother wouldn't make me do that". I have called her and she shared with him that I am his Mom and that she would do the same as I would. She always says that we are doing so awesome for him and are great parents for him. . . all of which support add to our feelings that this was the choice she WANTED to make for him/her and us.