We talked about all things open adoption as well as the emerging but controversial adoptive family tradition of Birth Mothers Day, something that I only had very little personal knowledge of:
I believe that birth moms should be honored for their unique role in our children’s lives. Jim Gritter points out in his book that in an adopted child’s life there are three important adult roles: Life Givers (genetic/biological parents), Life Sustainers (adoptive parents) and Life Affirmers (others who cheer on the child: coaches, teachers, relatives); This framework gives credit to everyone who helps make a child who she is. Some birth parents, though, don’t like having a separate day of celebration, as it highlights, well, separateness.
We also talked about this idea of an “open-hearted” way toward adoption and the inspiration for her new book:
This new-fangled thing called “open adoption” usually makes people think of contact between adoptive parents and birth parents. That’s what I thought, and I also assumed openness was done for the benefit of the birth mother — to help assuage her grief after placement.
But openness is so much more than just contact. And the person who most benefits is the child at the center. Openness is more about the spirit with which we parent and how we expand our definition of “family” than it is about the amount or type of contact. We open our hearts to those who made us mothers, to the child who has the monumental task of integrating all parts of his identity, and to our own selves as we acknowledge and release our fears and insecurities.
It requires us to live from a place of vulnerability and authenticity; as Dr. Brene Brown says, we must Dare Greatly.