Adoption is a process that involves adoptive parents, a birthmother, and a baby. It’s not always easy to maintain open communication because people are different and each person has its own ways of communicating with others. But, when it comes to talking with your birthmother, there are some things you shouldn’t say to her if you want your relationship to remain open and healthy.
1. Negative phrases such as "giving a baby up for adoption" or "giving a baby away" aren't part of positive adoption language, and you shouldn’t use them. If you say things like this to or around your birthmother, it gives the impression that she is just giving her baby away because she didn’t want him or her. This can be quite hurtful. Alternative terms you could use are "place her baby for adoption" or "created an adoption plan" since these show a deeper understanding about her situation and motivations.
2. Every beginning is hard, and the first meeting with your birthmother can be daunting. When you meet her for the first time, be respectful of her feelings and don't overwhelm her with questions. Don't refer to her as a birthmother, don't ask her outright about her reasons for choosing an adoption, and don't ask her about all the details in her life. This can be overwhelming for her and it can also present you in the wrong light. An open and healthy communication requires some time and further relationship building, so follow her lead. When she decides she wants to talk about her personal matters, you’ll sense that.
3. Another thing you should avoid when communicating with a birthmother is making it all about you. She’s in a difficult position and she doesn’t want to listen to you go on and on about you. Make it about her. A great place to start is to ask her questions about her life, like school or her job, what she likes to do for fun, etc. Then, rather than rattling off facts and stories about yourself, try asking her what she wants to know about you and then answer those questions.
4. Don't talk about finances and adoption costs until you're far enough in the relationship. If you start to talk how expensive adoption is for example, that can send a negative message. In fact, we advise consulting with your social worker or attorney before discussing these issues with your birthmother.
5. Adoptive parents often feel nervous about a birthmother changing her mind about the adoption, so you might feel the need to ask your birthmother how sure she is about her decision. We don't recommend this as it can only make her question her decisions further and that’s not what you want. This topic should only be broached if she is the one to bring it up. In the meantime, be sure to always acknowledge her and her feelings, and do the best you can to show her why you’re going to be the best parents for her child.
6. Another thing you should never say to your birthmother that by placing her child with your, she gave her child a better life. You may have good intentions, but it can easily be misinterpreted as you saying she’s not good enough to raise her child and the life she could provide would be inferior to yours. Such a thing is quite insensitive to say to your birthmother.
When communicating with your birthmother, it's important to keep positive adoption language in mind, be mindful of her feelings, and allow her to guide the conversation. If you keep this in mind, you'll not only maintain a healthy respect for your birthmother, but you'll also be on your way to a rich and fulfilling relationship.