Mother’s Day sneaks up like a lion ready to pounce on us each year. Suddenly we wonder: Have we gotten a card or gift? What will we do for mom this year? But did you realize that there is another lion sneaking up to pounce on our children. Mother’s Day brings up thoughts of birth moms and all sorts of other questions and feelings. This is a great time to pull out the lifebook! Acknowledging birth parents is one of the first elements of a lifebook.
Even if you don’t know anything about them, it is important to have a page for your child’s birth mother and birth father. Even if all you say is that you don’t know much about them. It’s simple biology, a mom plus a dad equals a baby. As our children grow up and start to understand and think about the world around them, they do the math and realize that for our family 1 + 1 = 5. There’s mom, dad, birth mother, birth father, and baby which makes five!
Having a page about your child’s birth mother and birth father in their lifebook gives all of you a chance to talk, and process your feelings about these people of whom you may know a lot, a little, or nothing at all. Instead of having blank pages, just say “we don’t know much about your birth mother or birth father.” The truth is you do know more than you think. You know three very key facts:
1) They gave birth to your child. You may be thinking, “Yes, so what does that tell me?” It tells your child that they are like everyone else. They were conceived in a mother’s womb and were born.
2) They passed on their genetics to your child. Your child’s face, hair, laugh, and likes and dislikes are all clues to what their birth parents are like. We are fortunate to have pictures of our children’s birth mothers. My youngest son has very almond eyes. His birth mother does not. So we say to him in his lifebook that perhaps he has almond eyes like his birth father.
3) They made, or someone made on their behalf, the decision to make an adoption plan for your child. You may not know the why, or the emotions that went into that decision for your child’s birth parents, but it was made and opened the door for your child to come into your family. You don’t want to put your emotions or reasoning on the birth mom, but you do want to let your child know that she or someone else made the decision to proceed with adoption.
Dads, take time this Mother’s Day to talk about what you love about mom, and then talk about your child’s birth mother as well. Moms, take a moment to tell your children how grateful you are that their birth mother gave you the privilege of being their forever mom. What are you grateful for about her? What do you wish for her?
Giving your child a chance to think and talk about the people in their life, even if they have never met them, will be good for your whole family. Like any time you look at your child’s lifebook, it helps to normalize adoption language. It opens opportunities for communication. It strengthens and aids in bonding your family. Don’t let the lions catch you unaware this year! How will you celebrate all the moms in your child’s life this Mother’s Day?