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What causes fear of "the birth mom" in (any kind of) adoption?

A recent poster was pretty honest (I hope) when she stated that she would choose a particular form of adoption so as to "avoid the birth mom". I have found that many feel this way when they are starting their adoption journies and also many change their opinion during the process. Is this true for you?

It makes me wonder how many adoptive parents or potential adoptive parents have considered avoiding "the birth mother" and why? Is it due to personal experiences with adoption? Thru peers? Media? Is it based on one's perception of "family"? Is it due to lack of information about how openness in adoption is beneficial for the child? If you now have a relationship with your child's birth mom, what changed your initial fear? Please help shed some light. Thank you.

Answer Question

Asked by doodlebopfan at 12:47 PM on Nov. 3, 2010 in Adoption

Level 20 (9,525 Credits)
Answers (27)
  • For a couple different reasons, I do think some states can allow the birth mom to fight for custody of their child should they change their mind, so that is a fear that they will lose their baby/child. Also because some adoptions are what you call "open" adoptions, where the bm and family have contact as much or as little as they like...some families may be afraid that contact with the bio parents may confuse or hurt the child, or if the child does have contact with the bio family and then the bio family decides to cease all contact it could really upset the child.

    Thos are just my guesses.

    Answer by anikahaynes1 at 1:01 PM on Nov. 3, 2010

  • I can tell you that when adopting throw foster care, continued contact with the birth parents is not usually beneficial to the child. Having to maintain contact with someone who abused and/or neglected you is very bad for your mental state and makes you question whether or not you actually have a forever home, or if you will be sent back to those that hurt you.

    Answer by asmcbride at 1:17 PM on Nov. 3, 2010

  • This is a good question. I've shared here before that I was a hard sell when it came to open adoption, but now I am one of its big cheerleaders. My fears of the bmom at first were 1)that she would either try to get the child back (legally or otherwise), 2)that our kids would love her more than us, 3)that if our teenager confided in her that they were having the normal teenager-parent conflict, she wouldn't back us up but would invite the child to come live with her, 4)that she wouldn't approve of our parenting style, and 5)that we would feel like "not the real parents" if we always had her in our lives as a reminder.

    I did have a lot of insecurity to work through, but I'm glad that OA forced me to work through it early on. I now know that we are all "real". My kids love me, and that doesn't change when they have birth family in their lives to love. Our kids' bmoms do not want to disrupt their lives. (cont)

    Answer by Iamgr8teful at 1:36 PM on Nov. 3, 2010

  • (cont) They had just as much reason to fear us, since so many aparents close the OAs for one reason or another. We have had some pretty serious bumps in one of our OA relationships, but we highly value keeping our word and we have worked through it. The nature of the contact with one of our kids' bmoms had to change for a while, but we never stopped contact. If all goes well, we hope that our visits with the rest of the bfamily can include her at some point in the near future.

    I do have a friend from church who chose IA because she thought OAs sounded dysfunctional, and she didn't want to deal with a bmom. Keeping in mind what she told me, I know that at least some people do feel that way. I am not one to criticize any person's choice about which kind of adoption, and I also agree with PP that in many fost-adopt situations, OA is not advisable.

    I am glad we have two OAs, although 7 yrs ago I wouldn't have said that.

    Answer by Iamgr8teful at 1:40 PM on Nov. 3, 2010

  • For us, we had never heard the word "birth mother" until we were required by the state to write a "Dear Birth Mom" letter. We had no clue about post-adoptive contact. We knew that we wanted a child. We also thought that there were tons of children available for adoption and that their mothers were pregnant teens not ready for children. I look back now and think what a "silly" view of adoption, but that's all I knew at the time.

    We knew nothing of adoption loss or grief. We thought that the mothers of adopted children just went on with their lives knowing in their hearts that they had made a right choice and were satisfied that their children were happy and well-cared for. After all, isn't that what adoption is all about?

    I remember the day that I realized that us gaining a child meant his mother would have to lose him. There was no other way. I also knew that adopting her son meant keeping her in our lives forever.

    Comment by doodlebopfan (original poster) at 3:01 PM on Nov. 3, 2010

  • maybe the birthmohter is crazy or has some kind of drug problem and the adoptive parents don't want their children exposed to that. Parents will and should do whatever they can to protect their children

    Answer by prettybaby1 at 4:05 PM on Nov. 3, 2010

  • maybe because they are selfish. really maybe that is part of it. and they wont admit that of course. i saw someone say once that they are the baby's "ONLY parents". and cutting the birth mom out promotes that ideal in everyone's mind. out of sight out of mind. if you never have to mention, talk about, or to, or deal with another person in connection with the child then you can just pretend they don't exist. and its easier on you. not easier on the child probably who then has to stifle any desire to know or talk about a birth family because they fear upsetting the adoptive family.

    Answer by Anonymous at 4:08 PM on Nov. 3, 2010

  • Doodle,

    What makes you think that fear is the motivation for "avoiding the birth mom?"

    Answer by ARgal at 6:27 PM on Nov. 3, 2010

  • ARgal, well, honestly, I thought long and hard to decide whether it WAS fear or something else. The poster didn't say. She simply said that she would choose int'l so that she could "avoid the BM." She wasn't anon, so I figured that she was being sincere, and "fear" was the only thing I could come up with. At least, that made sense to me.

    Do you have any other theories? I'd like to hear them. :)

    Comment by doodlebopfan (original poster) at 9:12 PM on Nov. 3, 2010

  • For me personally, what changed my initial fears of my son's birthmom was seeing all that she went through to give him life. Being in that delivery room and just holding him made me think of all she went through. I just could not ever think about not including her in his life. From that day forward I knew the bond and promises we made to one another were special and something never to be broken. Of course, all adoption situations differ but for us we continue to have that bond. I have had comments made like once the adoption was finalized now you don't have to deal with the birthmom anymore, and I simply tell it to them straight she is a part of his life and will always be. I put comments like that to lack of knowledge of adoption. We are blessed to have our son's birthmom to be a part of our lives.

    Answer by Kellyjude1 at 12:53 PM on Nov. 4, 2010

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