Patricia Dischler, author of “Because I Loved You: A Birthmother’s View of Open Adoption”, chose an open adoption for her son in 1985. While she has had the opportunity to build an open and meaningful relationship with her son’s parents, she knows that many parents do not get the opportunity to have a positive relationship with their child’s birth mother; which, she believes, can often lead to uncomfortable situations when parents cannot answer some of the important questions that begin to ask when they begin to explore the issues of being adopted.
When making the decision to place their child for adoption, there are a multitude of thoughts and emotions that birth parents go through. For those parents who have gone through an open adoption, these feelings may be familiar. For those who have not gone through an open adoption, here are 10 things that Dischler believes that adoptive parents should know:
1. I did not place my child because he or she was “ unwanted” I wanted my child so much that I continued a pregnancy filled with unanswered questions
2. I chose adoption because I loved my child. This paternal love allowed me to put his or her needs before my own when making my choice
3. This choice affected more than just me. He or she has a grandmother, grandfather, aunts and uncles who love my child as well, and he or she will be missed.
4. I wish for the day I can look into my child’s eyes and say “I love you” one more time.
5. I hope you will teach respect to my child by showing respect for me in your discussions
6. I wish I could be there to answer my child’s questions about adoption, but I trust you to answer them truthfully as best you can.
7. I will never stop thinking about my child. He or she will always be a part of who I am.
8. I would never try to disrupt my child’s new family with you. I put too much emotion and suffering into making this choice to allow anything to disrupt it- including me
9. I hope that you will teach my child about his or her beginnings—about where he or she was born and who I am.
10. In my eyes, you will always be my child’s Mom and Dad and that thought brings me happiness.
While Patricia is able to provide some insight into her personal experiences as a birth mother, it is important to remember that everyone’s experience is unique.
What is some advice that you would offer adoptive parents from a birthmother’s point of view? What are some things you’ve learned from your child’s birthparents?