The landmark day you became parents- it's pretty clear that the day of your adoption is not like any other day. It's the day you became a mother, your husband became a father, and your parents became grandparents. Your life is forever changed by your child and no other event will ever compare to all you have gone through to get to this day.
Someone else is a very important part of this day; someone with deep feelings of loss and sadness. That special person is your child's life mother who has gone through a great ordeal to bring you to this day. Without her none of you would have come together. All of you will remember this day vividly and with deep emotion.
Adoptive parents, or parents in waiting, you must never forget their children came to their life mother after the long and often difficult journey of their life mothers. We must remember this very important individual who, by strength of character or difficulty in circumstances-or both-chose to give the gift of a child to those who could not have one. For this reason alone they deserve respect, recognition, consideration, thoughtfulness and kindness from those who will benefit from their decision.
Of course, you are your child's parents. But a life mother never forgets the birth of her child. Even if this child is out of her sight, the child will never be truly gone from her memory. She was your child's first mother and this child will always remain in her heart.
To gain better understanding of these truths, find some stories about open adoption, speak to someone who is a life parent, or ask your adoption professional for some references to reinforce your decision to choose open adoption. Then, honor your life mother's wishes, always.
Letters and pictures, at the very least, are not much to ask and often provide your life mother with hope and encouragement about the decision she has made. When she sees a picture of her happy and healthy birth child, she has confirmation that her decision was the right one. The occasional visit, if agreed upon and handled wisely, can help to balance out the lives of everyone involved.
Everyone benefits by honoring the wishes of the life mother. Whatever your agreement is with the life mother, commit to it and follow through as promised. If you need any incentive, simply look into your child's eyes and remember where the life you see there started!
Mardie Caldwell, C.O.A.P. is a Certified Open Adoption Practitioner, an award winning author of 2 adoption books AdoptingOnline.com and Adoption: Your Step-by-Step Guide. Mardie is also the talk show host of Let's Talk Adoption.com with Mardie Caldwell and the founder of Lifetime Adoption in 1986. She travels and speaks nationwide on adoption topics, family topics, infertility and writing. She has been quoted in and consulted for Parenting and Adoption magazines and has appeared on CNN, CBS, ABC, BBC, NBC, and Fox. Featured in Parade Magazine, Caldwell is an adoptive mother living in Northern California.