“Happy Mother’s Day!” is something you’ve probably heard a lot this week. But it may feel different when you’ve adopted, been adopted or placed your baby for adoption.
When it comes to Mother’s Day, how do you honor all the mothers that have played a role in your child’s life? What are the ways you can honor your child’s birth mother, who may not get the recognition she deserves or may have a difficult time with this time of year?
Here are a few suggestions on how to make the day special for you, the birth mother, and your child.
1. Share Stories
Mother’s Day is a great opportunity to reflect on and recount special memories with your children. If you have any special stories about the birth mother to share, Mother’s Day and National Birth Mother’s Day (the Saturday before Mother’s Day) can be good times to tell them. You may have stories from when you were matched with the birth mother, or about why she chose your family for her child. Perhaps you know why she chose adoption in the first place. Depending on your adoption agreement, you may have seen her in the hospital before, during or after the birth and be able to tell your son or daughter about how she looked when she was holding them. The first words she whispered to them.
Memories are so important for children, and sharing these can help adoptees feel a connection to their history and where they came from. It can also be a time for your child to ask questions about their birth mother and adoption journey in general.
2. Write to Her
If you’re in contact with the birth mother, you and your son or daughter can write Mother’s Day cards for her, acknowledging and recognizing the important role she played in bringing your child into the world and placing him or her with your loving family. If you don’t have usual contact with your child’s birth mother, you can give the option to write letters to her, and place the letters in a decorative box on the mantle or something similar. You can add things to it each year and have a physical reminder of the love your family has for the birth mother.
3. Plant Flowers or Trees
On Mother’s Day, it’s fairly typical for moms to receive flowers, so why not do the same for your child’s birth mother? Or, depending on the level of openness you have in your adoption agreement, plant a flower in your garden or a tree in your yard. This will serve as an ever-present reminder of her and the roots your child started his or her life with.
Each year, you can plant another flower or check on the growth of the tree. The symbolism of the roots, the growth, and even the type of flower or tree you pick, can all be very powerful. If you let your child pick the type of flower or tree, make sure to do a little research to make sure your environment will facilitate its growth – just as the birth mother did for her child!
4. Invite Her to Your Family’s Mother’s Day Celebrations
If the birth mother feels comfortable with it, invite her to celebrate Mother’s Day with your family. This greatly depends on your relationship with her, and it may not be appropriate for everyone. Keep in mind that this may be a difficult time for her, so be sure not to pressure her to come or make her feel like she should come. Just extend the invitation to let her know you are thinking of her and that she is more than welcome.
5. Set up some Special Time for the Birth Mother and Her Child
This one, again, may not be for everyone. But Mother’s Day can offer the opportunity for some quality time together. If your child’s birth mother lives nearby, she may be able to meet up at a local park or go out to a mother-child meal together. If she lives far away, maybe try to set up a phone call or video chat to give your child and her a chance to talk and spend quality time together.
6. Recognize Birth Mother’s Day
Did you know there’s a National Birth Mother’s Day? It’s the Saturday before Mother’s Day! This year – 2020 – marks the 30th anniversary since a group of women in Seattle, Washington created the holiday.
If you want to have a day to dedicate just to your child’s birth mother, this is a great opportunity. Nearly all the ideas here can be applied to Birth Mother’s Day or Mother’s Day; so, feel free to recognize each on her own day – or celebrate together if you wish.
7. Make a Family Tradition
We’ve saved the best for last! Every family has their own traditions around holidays that are meaningful to them. For example, a family may have a Christmastime tradition where each person opens one gift before bedtime on Christmas Eve in order to add to the excitement before Christmas Day. It could be even more specific for the family, like always getting new Christmas Eve pajamas to wear to bed and while opening presents on Christmas morning – how comfy! Family holiday traditions can come in all sorts of varieties.
You can make your own traditions around Mother’s Day that are meaningful to you. When your child is old enough, ask them what they might want to do to recognize and celebrate their birth mother during this time. Ask your child’s birth mother if there is something she might want to add as a permanent fixture to the family’s Mother’s Day. Especially when it’s something you and the people you love have put thought into, these family traditions will make the holiday more meaningful for everyone involved.
How to Honor Your Child’s Birth Mother
However you choose to honor your child’s birth mother, Mother’s Day is a time for your family – you, your child, and your child’s birth mother. When you spend that time doing things that honor everyone and are done with love, it strengthens the bonds you have together. Make your family’s Mother’s Day your own, and bring special meaning to the words, “Happy Mother’s Day!”
Adoption Choices of New York
Over the past seventeen (17) years, Adoption Choices of New York has helped many individuals and couples make adoption plans and complete their families through the miracle of adoption. Our staff has well-established relationships with agencies and attorneys across the nation, as well as Adoption Choices agencies in many other states. As a leader in the adoption community, we have a genuine commitment to a sensitive, comprehensive and supportive experience for all involved in the adoption journey. We are dedicated to ensuring that your adoption is processed in a professional, competent and caring manner and would be delighted to answer your questions.
For more information on adoption or if you are currently in the process of adopting a baby and have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact us.
Support Adoption Choices
Adoption Choices, Inc. is partnering with Crowdrise, a fundraising website for nonprofits, to help our adoptive parents and birth parents with much needed financial assistance. We understand that expenses keep clients from fulfilling their dreams. Both with birth parents making a plan for adoption, and with adoptive parents growing their family. It is our mission to provide financial assistance through grants and scholarships, awarded annually in November, in honor of National Adoption Month. Funds assist adoptive parents with matching and placements, adoption finalization and helping birth mothers improve their lives through higher education — and much more.
However, we can’t do it alone. Please read up on our programs and donate money where you are able. Your donation will make a huge impact.
About the Author
Darby Summers is an avid fan of fantasy and sci-fi stories in all mediums, and aspires to share a story of her own to add to the genres she has adored her entire life. Raised in a house with the rule: “you can stay up as late as you want, as long as you’re reading,” Darby’s passion for reading, literature, and language was inspired at a young age, and continued through her achievement of a Bachelor’s in English from Allegheny College in 2017.
Darby is currently writing blog posts for Adoption Choices of New York, and is enjoying the opportunity to be part of helping families find each other and a source of information and support throughout what can be a very difficult time in life.
When she isn’t absorbed in the latest series to capture her attention, Darby enjoys working on cosplays and going to cons with friends. Her perfect night consists of staying in playing games (of the video, board or card varieties), making some delicious homemade pizza, and settling in on the couch for a movie with her husband, Adam, and cat, Sylvie.