By Jessica Hartwig, Adoption Recruitment Specialist
In my personal experience with ‘foster to adopt’ adoption, we did not have the opportunity to meet our daughter’s birth mother. She walked out of the hospital after she gave birth. We took our baby home at six days old and had faith that she would ultimately be our adoptive daughter. Very little information is known about our daughter’s birth parents. The identifying contact information that her birth mother completed within the hospital was false. Birth father is unknown. The only birth parent information that my husband and I have to share with our daughter is the fragmented account that one social worker who had met her told us within days of our placement.
This experience is common among public agency adoptions. However, a few public agency adoptive parents and many parents who adopt through a private agency do get the privilege of meeting a birth family member. During your adoption journey, should you have the opportunity to meet a birth mother or birth family member, I would suggest that you be prepared to ask the questions that you and your adopted child may need to know now and/or want to know in the future. These are some of the questions I would like to ask our daughter’s birth mom should I have the opportunity to meet her:
- Why did you give your baby this particular name?
- How did the birth father feel about the adoption plan?
- Did your parents know about your pregnancy? How did they feel about the adoption?
- Are there any family members you would want this child to know about?
- Does this child have siblings? Do they know about this child and, if yes, have any of them expressed a desire to get in contact?
- What is the typical height, weight and hair color of other family members?
- Did you do well in school?
- Are there any special learning needs in the family?
- Does anyone where glasses?
- Are you aware of a personal diagnosis for yourself or another family member with mental illness or other major illness?
- What would you like this child to know about you?
- What do you like to do in your spare time?
- What did you like to do when you were a child?
- Are you open to contact with this child as an adult?
- Do you have any future personal goals that you would like to share?
My daughter has many unanswered questions about her birth family and has asked to meet her birth mother. When she is older and mature enough to understand the outcome of that meeting, I will support her and fully assist her in finding her birth mother. And, before we ask her birth mom all of our many questions…. I will personally Thank Her.
For more tips and information regarding the experiences of birth families and/or the foster care system, go to:
- Reuniting with Birth Relatives
- Six Things I Wish You Knew About Foster Care
- Child Welfare Foster Care Statistics
- Six Things Birth Parents Wish Adoptive Parents Knew
- 10 Things Every Birth Mother Wants Adoptive Parents to Know