I received an email from a reader recently, a birthmother who was frustrated with trying to build a relationship with her now grown child. She mentioned feeling that the adoptive mother was being overprotective and that this was somehow slowing down the process. She asked what she could do to keep things moving towards a more open relationship with her children. I think my answer surprised her. I told her to be grateful for the overprotective mother.
In this particular case, the children had been in the social system a couple of years before being placed with the adoptive family. How lucky for those children to now be in the care of someone who is willing to defend them, protect them, and advocate for their well being and happiness? It’s what great mothers do. And as a birthmother, one of our biggest hopes is that our children will have great mothers.
I suggested to this birthmother that she spend some time showing respect, and even admiration, for this adoptive mother. That it’s not just about her and her relationship with the children anymore. They are part of a family now, a unit, and she needs to embrace this entire unit, not try and single out her child. Yes, the child is an adult now, but that doesn’t change a thing. They are still part of a family. You’re either all in – or all out.
Respect has this great ability to grow. You give it – and you will get it back. Whether you are an adoptive parent or a birthmother this is a good course of action. The sooner everyone understands and shows respect for the other, the sooner you’ll open the door to a great future.