What does your adopted child call her birth mother?
Adopted people have two mothers, which begs the question of what to call their birth mother.

We had great response from our online community to a survey we took about what adopted kids/adults call their birth mothers. The responses that had more than one vote are as follows in order of popularity

  • First name
  • Birth Mother/Mom/Your birth mom
  • Tummy Mommy
  • Mom/Mother
  • First mom/mother
  • China Mom/Russia Mom/etc.
  • Bio Mom/Biological Mom
  • Mommy (first name)
  • My (first name)
  • Other mom

Calling her by her first name was by far the most popular choice of adoptive parents, adult adoptees, and first moms.  A number of people clarified that while they call her by her first name at home, they refer to her as “birth mom” or “birth mother” when speaking outside the family

Some families that opt for calling the first mother some variation on the word “mother”, call the adoptive mom one variation (e.g. “mommy”) and the birth mother a different variation (e.g. “mom”). Some families don’t make a distinction at all, with the families that call both the adoptive mom and birth mom “mom”. “Nothing wrong with having two moms.”

Two families who opted to call their child’s birth mother “Mommy/mama (first name) noted that all the kids in the family called her Mommy “Sue”, which struck me as very sweet.

Tummy Mommy

I have to admit that I’ve never warmed up to the term “tummy mommy” or “tummy mummy”, and yet, even as I type I feel like an old schoolmarm focusing on correct word use. OK, humor me here: Babies grow in a mother’s uterus, not her stomach. I can’t help but feel we are contributing to a bunch of kids worried about swimming around the first nine months with a disgusting mixture of broccoli, potato chips, and milk. Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, I feel better. Go ahead and do as you please.

Cute kid story

Along the lines of kids say the darndest things:

Referring to our oldest’s birth mom by her first given name works great since it’s an uncommon name. When my youngest got older, and we started to refer to her birth mom by her name, we ran into problems. She was getting very confused, then it dawned on us she has the same name as my daughter’s young cousin. So then we started calling her ‘your birth mother Emily’ to distinguish the two Emily’s. In her toddler speak it got smoshed into “my birth Emily”. So it’s now birthemily.


What do your kids call their birth mother? If you’re an adult adoptee, what do you call your birth mom? If you’re a first mom, what do you want your child to call you?


Image credit: Triston Wallace