Saturday, April 16, 2011

A Letter From Her Birthmom

It arrived almost two weeks ago. In a non-descript envelope from our agency. Thinking it was finally Xiomara's updated birth certificate, I rushed to open it. Instead, a single white sheet addressed to Vanessa, Chris, & Girls, fell to my lap.

It was from her; "J" our birthmom.

For the first time in 9 months we heard from her. Directly. I've been in contact with our social worker from Georgia and heard little bits and pieces that "J" has been ok with her sharing, but otherwise it has been silent.

And I hated the silence. I wanted to know that she was ok. I wanted to know if she still was happy she placed her daughter with us.

She is ok and she still feels confident in her placement. She is extremely grateful that we are still sending her letters and pictures even though we are no longer obligated to do so.

But, and there always seems to be a but...she referred to Xiomara as her daughter the whole letter.

It bothered me and I'm not sure it should have being that Xiomara is her daughter. That reality doesn't go away just because she placed her for adoption. Yet can she also be mine? The big question is: Can Xiomara have two moms who both love her? One who grew her in her tummy, and loved her enough to choose an adoption plan for her. And one who grew her in her heart and loved her enough to accept her for who she is no matter what.

The answer: I think so. Because that is the life I'm living right now. The life I chose. I'm working through these emotions and experiences as they hit me one at a time.

Any other adoptive mamas have advice for me? Is what I am feeling normal? I'd also love to hear from birthmoms on this issue if you are willing to share.


  1. As a birthmom, I still refer to my placed son as my son. This makes him no less hers (his amom). I don't believe there should be a limit on the number of people who can love a child. I know that I will never be his 'mom' but I am still one of his mothers, if that makes any sense. I am not his everyy day dependable wipe his tears mother, but the one that gave him life.

  2. Debbie, THANK YOU!! I honestly cannot thank you enough! I SO was hoping to hear from a birthmom on this. You put it absolutely perfect! I think when you said that just because you refer to your son still as your son, that doesn't make him less of his adoptive mom's son, that is what I was worried about the most. That somehow that would make her less mine. You just did a better job wording it then I did! :) I am so happy that Xiomara can have two moms that love her.

    Anyway, thank you so much! I greatly appreciate the perspecitve from the other side. It helps me to understand "J" more.

  3. I can also share this from a step-mom's point of view... My 'step-son' is my son. I am his mother. I am not replacing or competing with his "real" mom, I am just another mom who loves him and is a part of his life. I am just one more parent who cares about him, and I know that his mom respects and appreciates that!

  4. Thank you so much Annalise. Competing...yes that is the word that came to mind when I first read her letter. Like I had to compete with her for Xiomara. If I'm honest, I believe it was jealousy. But what a great point to make that you are just another mom who loves him! So good to remember that in reference to "J". Thank you!!

  5. I am also a birthmom and I try so very hard to never call Brit my daughter, but in my heart I still feel like I am her mother too. I just want to be so careful that I don't hurt Brit's mom's feelings so I try to be very sensitive to that.

    I agree with every one of the above statements. The favorite thing I have every heard in regard to this was a quote from an adopted child in an open adoption. Someone asked her who was her real mom. She looked at the inquisitor and said "They're both my real mom!"

    I too have been a step mother most of my life and I have also called my step children my daughter and my son. Just like the previous post, I know I am not their biological mother, but my heart loves them like they are my own. They know who is who. Just like your daughter will know some day.

    We need to worry less about titles and more about the love being shared with the child. (So much easier said than done!)

    I am so glad you shared this post. These are the kinds of things we should all talk about. Because I think when we say things like this out loud, it takes away the power of the "secret feelings", which is never good in adoption.

  6. I think it's great that you're willing to open up with people about such a sensitive, personal issue...especially since it deals with your daughter.

    As an adoptee, one of the things that I appreciated (and still do) most about my parents was the way that they handled my birthparents. My adoption is a bit different as it was international and closed, but regardless of that, the urge to search or to understand will always be true for an adoptee. My parents loved me enough to allow me to make the decision of how I ultimately refer to my birthparents, if I wanted to call them "Mom" or "Dad" or whatever, it was my choice. Because ultimately, it is my life and my understanding of who I am that matters most.

    I think that adoptees struggle so much with loyalty--how and where it plays out in their life and their personal relationships. It's important that as "adoptive" parents, you're aware and take your cues from your child. Obviously, Xiomara is young still for that, but there will come a time when she has the "adoptee identity crisis." And thankfully, she's blessed with a family that loves Jesus and, when the time comes, will be able to lean on faith and put aside their own fears and comfortability to allow her to discover how "adoption" forms and shapes her.

  7. Your daughter is so fortunate to have two Moms who both love her so much, in different ways. One who chose to make a huge sacrifice to give her the life she knew she deserved, and the other to open up her heart and home.
    Stopping by from the Natural parenting party!

  8. LisaAnne-Thank you for your insights on being a birthmom. I really do appreciate it! :) And I so agree with you on worrying less about titles!!

    Katie-What awesome words to this adoptive mama!! :) I've always admired how your family approached adoption. I especially loved the bond I always saw between you. I've never even thought before about allowing Xiomara to make some of those decisions (what to call her birthmom, etc.). I hope and pray that God can guide both Xiomara and myself as those times come!!

    April-Thank you so, so much for your kind words!! :)


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