This past week I met a birthmom. She lives blocks away from me but I met her by chance. She was talking to me about her grandchild and I casually asked her about how many children she had. She informed me she had one child. I then causally asked a few more questions and the responses were not exactly adding up. I must have gotten a funny look on my face because she then told me she had placed her baby up for adoption. She seemed uncomfortable. I got so excited! She was the first birthmother I have ever met.
I didn't know what it was that made her share the fact that she had placed her daughter up for adoption. Had she let the moment pass I would never have known the difference. I wonder if my cautious questions about children may have led her to reveal this fact or if this was something she openly shares. I do not ask people about children unless I am given some indication they have children. I often ask my patients if they have family in the area. I typically ask generally about family or about spouses (if they have a wedding band) which often reveals if people have children. I have learned from my own experience that I dont like being asked if I have children by strangers so why should I do the same? (In my line of work children and other family members are often key to their rehab so I am not just prying).
The women shared that she had recently reconnected with her daughter and was able to meet her. She also shared that she had written letters to her daughter through the years but these were kept in a folder at the agency. This is how her daughter found her. I then asked if she knew about open adoptions. She had not and I told her that we were waiting to adopt a baby. I told her how we would meet the birthparents and would continue to have contact. Her discomfort faded away. She thought open adoption sounded wonderful but she sounded a little skeptical then she asked me "What if you move away." I told her we would have to make a plan for that.
I think it was neat to meet someone that is a birthmother but in meeting this birthmother it made me realize that I likely have met many birthmothers and never known. I wonder how many birthmothers I will meet (besides my own children's birthparents) due to the fact that my children will be adopted. I think the best gift this woman gave me was the confirmation that birthmothers are women that love their children so much that they allowed another set of parents raise their baby.