Understanding Birth Parents
Adoption involves not only the adopted child and the adoptive parents, but also the birth mother and father that made the decision to place their child for adoption. It is tempting for some adoptive parents to push birth parents to the back of their mind once the adoption is finalized, but they will always be our children’s first mom and first dad, and our children will likely not push them to the back of their minds. All adoption triad members need to learn from one another and be respectful of one another.
One of the best ways to “get to know” each other is to start reading blogs written by first mothers (and fathers), adopted people, and adoptive parents. Creating a Family has compiled a list of the Best of the Best Adoption Blogs with all adoption triad members.
Prior to Birth: The woman is an expectant mother (EM) and the man is an expectant father (EF). We think it is important to not refer to them as birth parents because they have not (and legally cannot) relinquish their parental rights until after birth. Calling them expectant parents during this time is a good reminder to all. In order to make our resources on finding expectant parents that might be considering adoption more searchable online, we sometimes refer to parents at this stage as prospective birth parents.
After Birth but Prior to Placement: They are simply mother and father.
After Placement with Adoptive Parents: Depending on who you talk with any of the following terms are acceptable: birth mother (father), first mother (father), and natural mother (father). At Creating a Family, we use birth mother and first mother interchangeably. We do not use the abbreviation BM for birth mother for obvious reasons. You might enjoy this blog we wrote on this topic: What’s In A Name? Birth Mother? First Mother? Real Mother?
Creating a Family has many resources to help foster an understanding of Birth Parents and the role they play in the lives of adopted people. A few we think you will find particularly helpful are:
- Adoption Agency or Adoption Attorney: Which Should You Choose? (article)
- Navigating Identity & Belonging as an Adoptee (guest article)
- Why is it Taking So Long to Get an Adoption Match? (article)
- Birth Parent Experiences in Adoption (1 hr. podcast w/ experts)
- Talking with Children about Adoption at Different Ages (1 hr. podcast w/ expert)
- Navigating Sticky Relationships with Birth Families (1 hr. podcast w/ expert)
Many more Creating a Family podcasts, articles, and fact sheets on birth parents can be found at the icons below.
Image credit: Anathea Utley