Saturday, July 7, 2007

Mom vs. Birth Mom

Recently while visiting with a new adoptive mom friend I noticed that she always referred to her new baby girl's birth mom as mom. I kept noticing this and wondered how she did it. How did she say the words that are so hard for me to say?

You see, I always refer to our son’s first mom as either birth mom, first mom or by her name. I found myself asking why is it that it bothers me when someone refers to his birth mom as mom. When someone asks us if we have a relationship with his mom, it bothers me. I know whom they mean and I know what they are asking, but I want to scream YES WE KNOW HIS MOM; I AM HIS MOM. You see they are only wondering if we have an open adoption or closed. They are merely curious and I love curiosity about adoption. I love to talk about adoption and I love to educate and disprove some of the myths people have about adoption. So then why is this so hard for me?

I am a huge birth parent advocate. I believe the most ideal place for a child is with his/her birth family. When that isn't the best situation, then that is when I think adoption should come in to play. I wish that there were more options available for parents who are struggling to raise their children. I think that a birth parent that changes their mind to parent their baby has every right to do that. They are the parents before anyone else is. I am a huge advocate of open adoptions and feel as though closed adoptions are not beneficial to anyone in the adoption triad.

I love our birth mom. I respect her and cherish her and we do have an open relationship with her. I value her more than she will ever know. She loved our son before we even began loving him. She cared for him before us. She chose to give him life and she chose us to parent him. Her reasons for placing him are her own reasons and not mine to broadcast here. She will always be a part of our lives and we have pictures of her in the boy’s room. We also talk about her and tell Little Boy about her whenever we look at the pictures.

I usually atribute my dislike of this to not wanting to confuse my boys. I never want them to be confused as to who their "real" mom is. Does this make sense, or am I just using them as a crutch to my own fear?

So, am I insecure in the thought of someone referring to her as mom too? Do I fear that I will be valued less if he hast two moms? I don’t know why this is so hard for me. When we first adopted him I would rage (not to the person, but just in my head) if someone said mom instead of birth mom. Now it doesn’t bother me, but I just can’t bring myself to say it. Is that okay?

So, any other adoptive moms out there where do you stand on this? Am I wrong? Am I insecure? Do I need to just get a grip and get over it? I can take it, tell me the truth. Is this dumb? I promise it is really not a big issue, I just need to know if I am alone on this one, or if any of you other moms deal with this.


Kim said...

So you don't have to post this but I was reading your blog and thought of a funny for you as the concepts of adoptions and moms and all of that comes into play....

Dave's parents adopted a little girl almost 5 yrs ago. She was 2 days old when they took her home. Her name is Kayleigh and her birth mom was a relative and the birth mom did heroin every day of her pregnancy and to this day is still in and out of jail. Very sad but Kayleigh has been a huge joy to all of us. Now, raising kids with your mother in law is not the funnest thing in the world but I consider it missional! :)

Emma was down for a visit. Her and Kayleigh are great friends and my mother in law, Debbie called and told me a funny.

Debbie, Kayleigh and Emma were all riding in the car and Kayleigh told Emma. "Emma, do you know I'm adopted?" Emma said "yes". And Kayleigh said "do you know what adopted means?" Emma said, "no". Kayleigh said "adopted means that you have two momies. One real mommy and one mommy that is in jail. That is what adopted means." Debbie was floored because they have never discussed her birth mom being in jail. But I guess you can never understimate what kids know and pick up on. The situation... not funny at all but the whole concepts of adoption for Kayleigh, a priceless moment! :)

Anyway, I don't have any wisdom on the matter but think it's great that you all have an open adoption. You are a great mom!
Hope your summer is going well for you. Dave is gone most of this month. I think of all you ladies often knowing your husbands are gone just as much too!

Matt and Becca said...

I understand what you are feeling. I do think that talking about her as "mom" could be confusing at your boys' ages. Mine too. In fact, Will (my oldest and bio. son) asks sometimes where Cy's mom is. I say that I'm his mom. I know he's talking about K, and it's terribly confusing for him. I try to explain it to him that Cy grew in K's tummy, and that she chose us to be his family. I don't know... I read and read, but sometimes there are no answers to these things. We have to play it by ear and do the best we can.

Anonymous said...

I go through this a little bit as well. I LOVE our son's birthfamily and it has been so fun to develop our relationship with them - but there is still a slight awkwardness which I think is a mixture of discomfort in sharing him, and I myself have had some feelings of "guilt" that I'm the mommy and she's not. I've been wondering to myself on occasion what we'll call his birthmom and dad when he's older. I guess that will just come with time as everything else.

Jeremy & Heather said...

as an adopted child myself ... you are doing an amazing job already. My parents, or my mom rather, had a very hard issue with the fact that she didn't birth me. She still struggles with it and sometimes I think has deceived herself into thinking she did. All that to say growing up, I was never allowed to ask questions or talk about the fact that I was adopted. It left me feeling a lot of feelings that I have had to deal with most of my life. I say this to say ... you call her what you want to call her ... you seem to be doing a great job at it. She gave him life but now you are the mom. My mom is my mom ... did she birth me no but she's my mom. There is a lady out there who birthed me but that's all. Maybe one day we'll meet and if we do she will still be only the lady who gave me the chance to have a life but never mom. YOU are the mom and have every right to feel the way you do.

Jamie said...

Thanks girls.

I know that there is no right answer here. I do think that it also is weird because my children are younger.

I think that someone who refers to their child's birth parent as mom as well is awesome. Nothing wrong with that. I'm just having a hard time with it.

And I think that is okay. I think it is fine for me to use this term when others feel more comfortable with others.

This as a great response and thanks for commenting. I am proud that we keep in contact with our birth mom. That is priceless to me and will be to our son.