Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Answers from the lovely birthmothers:
Note – not every birthmother has answered every single question, please match the fonts to know whose response you are reading!

if you would like to answers any of the questions please do so in the comment section and be sure to leave the number of the question that is being answered.

Stefanie     http://stefaniejinelle.blogspot.com/
Megan  http://angryoctopusstudios.blogspot.com/
Alyssa       one of our guest bloggers
Anna      http://annamaryk.blogspot.com
Jennilee     one of our guest bloggers
Amanda     http://travisandamandarosemans.blogspot.com/
Nicole    http://lifeafterfirstmom.blogspot.com/
Kelsey    http://thebestforyoubook.blogspot.com/
Andee      http://anabananandee.blogspot.com/
Janessa     http://scottandjanessa.blogspot.com/
Shanna    one of our blog authors

8. what do you feel are reasonable boundaries for a birthmother as far as writing to your child, sending gifts, giving money, unplanned visits/phone calls/texts, etc?

Unplanned any type of PERSONAL contact is going to get you a one way ticket to restricted access to pictures etc.  You need to be respectful of the Aparents and in return they will respect you.  Too many gifts, cards, money etc is unnecessary.  I say Christmas gifts, special occasions and Birthday’s are perfectly appropriate but this can also be different on a case-by-case basis.  I only send Anna a gift on her Birthday and the occasional souvenir from my adventures.  I send occasional emails to let them know updates in my life (i.e, pregnancy, marriage, moves etc) so they know where I am and keep in contact with me. It all comes down to trying not to intrude, the Aparents know what’s appropriate so you need to establish those boundaries and be honest with each other initially and know that they may change with age.  Just respect the Aparents.

I think when the child is old enough to contact you. I think you should let them write to you first. I think it's okay to send them gifts and spoil them on Christmas and birthdays. I think you should ask the adoptive family as well what they think and how much contact they want you to have. You can ask them that through the years before the child is enough to start sending you emails, letters, pictures, calls, texts, whatever.

That is a hard one to answer. I have seen open adoptions where the boundaries are far too relaxed (making it more of a co-parenting situation, and now the adoptive parents are rabid advocates of closed adoptions), and the only advice I might have is to leave lines of communication between birthparent and adoptive parent open. Both parties must feel comfortable saying when enough is enough, if that makes sense.

Honestly, I don't think there should be any boundaries. I set my boundaries according to how I feel and how it will affect Sara. It is different in every situation. My motto is that a child cannot be over loved.

Personally, I think that communication should be open. Sometimes you have to be careful with texts since not everyone has a texting plan (hard to believe, I know) and that can get expensive. Unplanned visits can be hard as well, but only because of things that are going on with the family, the kids, life (soccer games, vacations, health stuff, etc.). I would hate to have a birthmother visit her child (if that child were a part of my family) and have her not call or something beforehand, only to find out when she gets here that we’re out of town for the weekend or something like that.

It depends on the openness and how willing the couple and birth mom are. It’s important to discuss what each other wants. I would never show up at their house without permission. I don’t call them or text. We use e-mail and snail mail. We discuss and agree on visits. I send gifts on his birthday and Christmas every year.

This is a bit of a personal question because each situation is different. The adoptive couple and I agreed as long as I am a good influence on "Bunny" I can be in her life. I've been keeping a personal journal for her but on Christmas and her Birthday I give gifts.

I think this is probably a very individual thing; for each person it may be different.  Since my adoption was closed I did not have these options, but I would think that writing a letter once a month would be acceptable to all parties.  I think visits and phone calls would definitely need to be worked out with the adoptive parents because it is ultimately what they prefer that would matter.  Also, I think sending gifts for bday once a year and holidays would be cherished and appreciated.

I was fortunate enough to have families that allowed me to write and send pictures. They returned the favor and it really helped me so, so much to be able to see and hear how my children were growing. I have sent gifts, not many, through the years. No money was given, ever. I would never have an unplanned visit. Unplanned phone calls are emergencies only. I totally believe in the rights of the adoptive parents and my role as the birth mother is to just be there for them if there are questions or issues. Once the children are over 18, I believe it is up to them to make the decisions for themselves.

I think that decision should be made before the child is born between birthmom and adoptive parents. For me we came up with this- pics every few weeks on their blogspot, they send me a Christmas ornament every yr and write to me on birthmother's day with a pic of the 3 of them, on her b-day they send me 3 pics of her from the previous yr to add to my scrapbook of her, and they do little things, for instance they sent me a lock of her hair from her first haricut, etc. and I send her a Christmas and birthday gift, and on each visit got her a dress or outfit- I am hoping now that she is nearing 4 yrs old that we will begin talking on the phone off and on- in my opinion there should not be unplanned visits unless the a parents have said that is fine and the b mom lives in close proximity to them and they have that 'family-style' relationship established

I dont think unplanned visits r a good idea. besides its just plain rude.
as for gifts i think its good for bparents to send them. same with letters/cards. as long as they r appropriate. giving $ i dont know. holidays n bdays r diff than just randomly giving $. i think that should b discussed with the aparents. texts n calls. as long as appropriate i c nothing wrong with them.

I feel that anything is reasonable as long as it is discussed and agreed upon by all parties.

I don’t ever do “unplanned visits” I do think there are boundaries.  I know that the adoptive mom is her mother and I would never try to take over that role.  I would never contact my little girl directly unless the amom gave me permission.  Like I said before, Communication is key.  I need to communicate with the adoptive mom if I want to make an open adoption work.  For a while there I was seeing her almost every weekend, but that was before I decided what I wanted.
Seeing her every weekend was too much on me, and probably too much on them as well.  I found myself having a hard time disconnecting from being her mother.  I think there is a line that should not be crossed.  I think it should be more like an “Aunt/Niece” relationship at the most.  No more than that.

They’ve told me repeatedly to call any time I need to.  Gifts have been pretty minimal to this point, but Christmas is coming up, and I may have gone a little crazy.  I also keep a box of greeting cards that I write at least once a month (sometimes for big events or when I get a neat update- he’s crawling, etc- and sometimes just when I particularly miss him).  I plan to send greeting cards to him as he gets older, and he’ll get the box at some point in the future.

~I think the boundaries are pretty common sense.  As a birthmother, you need to realize you have a responsibility to not be overwhelming to the adoptive family.  They are mostly likely new to the adoptive process too, and might see an abundance of phone calls, texts and letters as unhealthy.


Kelsey Stewart, Author said...

Thank you so much for this idea! I love reading the responses. So many opinions. Really shows that each and every adoption is different.

Thank you for this insight, and thank you for inviting me to participate!

My Best to You ALL!!!!!

Karen said...

I would love to be considered for a Q&A birth mom. I place two years ago and would love to share thoughts and advice. Thanks so much! Karen

birthMOM said...

hi karen, where in denver are you from? my family is in longmont!

do you mean this round of Q's? cuz ive got a ton more to post. the list of q's can be found here: http://birthmothers4adoption.blogspot.com/2009/11/remember-when-i-asked-for-questions.html

you can
a) post your answers as comments under each post, (like i have been cuz i was too slow to do it before i started posting them) OR
b) email me your answers and i can add them in OR
c) did you mean the next round of Q/A

lemme know! and thanks for being involved!
also can i list your blog on the sidebar under birthmother bloggers?

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