Honoring Your Adopted Child's Birthmother

A child born to another woman calls me Mommy. The magnitude of that tragedy and the depth of that privilege is not lost on me.”
— Jody Landers

How do we honor our children’s birthmothers on Mothers Day?  This is a delicate subject. 

Adoption is beautiful and people are always happy to see orphans become sons and daughters.  However, each and every one of them has a past, and often that past haunts them.  I believe it is unfair to the child, the adoptive parent, and even the birthparent to neglect this truth.

We are blessed beyond measure by our adopted kids.  We are thankful for them and we are glad that God chose us to raise them.  However, to say that they were “meant to be” in our family can confuse them when they think of the parents who gave them birth, and “God’s plan” for their life.

Even though it sounds nice, it can cause more questions and doubt for them about who they are and who they came from. 

I believe that in a perfect world there would be no adoption because there would be no orphans.  There would be no neglect, no abandonment, no death.  Children would remain with the parents who created and birthed them, and they would not have a hole in their heart when they think of their past.

But alas, this world is far from perfect.  Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, sin came into the world, and we are all suffering the consequences.

Our children became orphans, we adopted them, we love them, but their birthparents are still a part of their story.  And their story is a part of who they are.

Each year on Mothers Day, I give a little tribute to birthmothers.  My daughter is ten and she doesn’t love it.  She usually says, “Why do you always bring her up?”  Well, I don’t always bring her up.  This is literally once a year.  But here is what I say:

I love your birthmother because she gave me you.  I don’t know the reasons, but without her, there would be no you.  The world is a better place with you in it, and I am thankful that she chose life.  I respect her for that, and I think she deserves for us to acknowledge her and pray for her, once a year at a minimum.”

My son is 9 and has the maturity of a 5 year old, so our conversation is a bit different, but it does open up the discussion.  My kids know that I am not afraid to talk about their past, their “other” parents and whether or not they have biological siblings. 

When they are grown, I believe they will be healthier because we did not run from or hide their pasts from them.  And they will know that they have our blessing if they choose to try to find them.

I think that in the next few years, when my kids are adolescents and their identity and history becomes more important to them, they may become more open to these discussions.  In my mind we will light a candle or buy a flower or even write a letter to honor their birth families.  But right now, I will take what I can get, which is a five minute discussion and a prayer, once a year on Mothers Day.

I dreamed once that I met Kate’s birth-mom.  It was one of the most real dreams I have ever had.  She drove a pink Cadillac, had perfectly straight teeth, was super friendly and hilarious.  Of course, this was a dream, but Kate got most of her personality from her genes, so it seems very believable to me.  She likes it when I tell her that story.

And as Yondu tells Peter in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, “He may have been your father, but he wadn’t your daddy.”  (SPOILER ALERT!)

So in our house, we honor the mother and celebrate the mommy.