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Adoptee Perspective of Attending Birth Parent Support Group

International adoptee Keri Friedman, interning at Adoptions From The Heart as a Donor Relations and Marketing intern, shares her perspective from attending a Birth Parent Support Group.

Recently, I have had the great opportunity to intern at Adoptions From The Heart and learn more about the adoption process, open adoptions, and specifically, learning more about birth mother and parent experiences. Being an international adoptee from China, I was incredibly interested in learning about other experiences relating to adoption that were different from my own.

I had the opportunity, as an intern, to attend a Birth Mother Support Group. I was so moved and inspired by these women. Each of their stories are so unique and although hardships that they have faced are not easy, they are some the strongest women I’ve met. Hearing every unique birth mother’s story really opened my eyes to the constant love and care they have for their children and adoptive parents. Having a closed adoption, I have not had the opportunity to search for my birth parents nor do I think it is possible. But learning about the birth mother experience, I have been able to come to an understanding that no matter what, my birth parents’ decision to place me was out of love.

In the process of placement and adoption, the birth mother experiences many emotions. Once the child is placed with the adoptive parents, birthmothers experience a grieving process. This grieving process does not mean that they regret their decision to place their child, but the reality of placing your child in someone else’s care can be tough and will always stay with them. As one birth mother said in the support group “During my pregnancy, I felt that I was the person who was carrying your child. Now that I placed, I am the person who carried your child.” Birth mothers will always be birth mother’s, however, post-placement, sometimes their role shifts, and many different emotions come along with that. “There is no manual for dealing with this, even four years later” another birth mother shares.

Many birthparents face stigmas and false assumptions about their decision to place their child. These negative stereotypes of birthmothers must be broken down through raising awareness about birth mother and father experiences. Support groups such as this the one I attended provides a safe space to discuss their unique journeys and experiences while leaning on one another for support and creating a sense of community and strength to combat the negative stigmas.

As I continue to grow and share my adoption story, I hope to also spread awareness about birth parent experiences. There is often lots of emphasis on the adoptive parents and their adoption process, but not enough attention on the birth parents’ experience of placement and their journey afterwards. No one will be able to truly understand a birth parent experience unless they are a birth parent. However, with more awareness and education about birth mother and parent experiences, I hope birth parent stories and experiences will be looked at with open hearts and minds.

All birth mothers’ and parents’ experiences are unique and in each, there is no doubt that everything they do for their child is out of love. Birth mothers and parents have the biggest hearts and deserve all the love and support in the world.

One great resource to learn more about birth parent experiences is on Adoptions From The Heart YouTube channel, AFTHtv, that has a Special: The Unheard Voices of Birth Mothers featuring episodes of birth parents sharing their unique stories.

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