Archive for Birth mothers

Gift Ideas for Your Child’s Birth Mom

Overhead shot of a young woman opening a gift“I want to give a gift to my daughter’s birth mother to honor her and the choice she made, and to thank her for her part in creating our family. There’s no possible way I can say thank you enough to her!
Is it appropriate to send a gift? What sort of a gift should I give her?”

What a touching and thoughtful question! Yes, it’s completely appropriate to give your daughter’s birth mother a gift. Please be sure to ask your adoption attorney if it’s legal in your state to give gifts to her.
What you give your child’s birth mother will depend on the relationship you’ve developed with her, and what she likes. As you get to know the birth mother better, you’ll discover her interests and get a better idea of what kind of present she’d like.

Here are our 10 favorite birth mother gift ideas that will show your child’s birth mom just how much she means to you!

1. Necklace with a locket that has a special engraving or a photo of her child inside
2. A framed photo of her son or daughter
3. Photo gift like a calendar, coffee mug, or book filled with pictures of her child
Adoption prayer bracelets4. Jewelry (check out these beautiful adoption bracelets!)
5. Photo credits at a site such as Snapfish so she can order a photo gift, and whichever photos she likes
6. Gift basket filled with items like lotion, body wash, masks, self-care treats, and gift cards
7. Her child’s sweet handprint or footprint in clay
8. Meaningful hand-lettered artwork, like the gorgeous designs at LetterMyHeart on Etsy
9. Flowers
10. Gift certificate for a massage, facial, or another pampering service

Do you have ideas for birth mother gifts? Or maybe a creative present you’ve given your child’s birth mother that she loved?
Please share it with us by leaving your comment below!

The Truth About Being Picked by a Birth Mother

Woman browses Internet on a tabletAmanda rested on the sofa, with a cup of tea resting in one hand one. She grabbed for her iPad and began to browse through her adoption agency’s website, something that she did every night upon getting home from work. As she navigated the site, Amanda began feeling defeated. As she looked at all the happy photos of other couples hoping to adopt, she wondered, “How will we ever stand out from all these other couples and get picked by a birth mother? What makes a birth mother choose one couple over another as the parents to her child? How can we compete against couples who are charming, well-educated, attractive, and wealthier?”
If this scenario sounds familiar to you, you’re not alone. Plenty hopeful adoptive parents feel worried from time to time that a birth mother won’t choose them. Struggling with jealousy and frustration during your adoption journey is normal. Today, we hope to bring clarity to the open adoption process and give you some bottom line truths about being chosen by a birth mother.

Why Them and Not Us?

Today, birth mothers pick adoptive families for a variety of reasons. Lifetime has seen women choose a certain couple just because they looked kind, or familiar, or fun. Birth mothers have decided on their baby’s adoptive parents based on where they live, their pets, or their hobbies. We’ve even worked with birth mothers who felt an instant connection to an adoptive couple because they both liked the same candy! As you can tell, there’s no specific formula to explain why a birth mother might like one family over another.
The truth is, a birth mother can only pick ONE adoptive family for her baby. Once she realizes that there are so many wonderful, loving couples who would make amazing parents for her baby, it makes her difficult decision even more so.

How Long Will We Wait?

Adoption is unique. If it were easier to adopt, there would be more people pursuing this path to parenthood. It’s challenging to predict exactly how long your adoption wait will be. That because here at Lifetime, adoption depends on a birth mother’s choice.
So, it’s important to follow your adoption agency’s guidance and expertise on your adoption profile, website, and video. Also, make sure to be as open as you’re comfortable in your adoption preferences for a child. Every time a birth mother sees your information, it’s another opportunity to be picked.
The bottom line is that there are a variety of reasons why some adoptive couples wait longer than others. Some hopeful adoptive parents may have put off turning in their home study paperwork or getting their adoption profiles in. Or, they might even have turned down an opportunity to adopt that was given to them and was inside their preferences. For couples who have been ready and proactive from the beginning of their adoption journey, it’s just a matter of time!
Each adoptive family’s path to their child is unique, but it can be hard not to compare yourself to others. Whether you’re seeking an adoption match on your own or with the help of a professional, we hope that the insights we shared here help you get through the frustrating days.

Do you need encouragement and inspiration during your adoption wait? Make sure to check out these helpful articles about waiting:

8 Ways to Be Positive During the Adoption Wait
In Your Adoption Wait? 5 Ideas on What You Can Do
A Lesson In Patience as You Wait to Adopt
Coping With Your Adoption Wait
Struggling With Your Adoption Wait? Read This!

How to Build a Relationship With Your Baby’s Birth Mom

discover how you can build a relationship with your baby's birth mom!

An adoptive mother snaps a quick photo to send her baby’s birth mom

“We’ve been chosen by a birth mom, who’s due next month and is expecting a baby boy! How do we handle contact with the birth mom after we adopt? We’d like to begin a relationship with her once we bring our baby home, but how do we do this?” asks one of our adoptive couples living in Florida. One benefit of open adoption is that your child will grow up knowing their origins, their adoption story, and their birth family. Read on to learn how you can build a relationship with your baby’s birth mom!

This is a joyous time for you and your family, as you bond with, and delight in, your wonderful baby. The paperwork, the waiting, the wondering…it’s all behind you! Now the marathon of parenting begins.

In open adoptions, this is also the time when you and your son’s birth parents build a relationship with each other. During your adoption match, you probably discussed how the relationship would work. You’ve thought carefully about the type and frequency of contact, how you’ll share photos, and so on.

You may have even committed those details to paper. This document, called an open adoption agreement, or a post-adoption contact agreement, will prevent misunderstandings and hurt feelings. Families whose adoptions were arranged at the last minute can schedule a meeting or a conference call several weeks after their baby is home, with an adoption professional or attorney present, if possible.

The Birth Mom’s Experience

Once your baby is home, it’s important to understand that, while you are enjoying him, his birth mother is grieving. She will go through the stages of grief that everyone experiences when they lose someone: anger, depression, and, eventually, acceptance.

The grieving process is normal, and you shouldn’t hide your happiness or worry that she wants the baby back. She needs to see the happy family that she’s helped create. If you’ve agreed to initiate contact, you need to send her photos and updates. This allows her to not only see her son flourishing but to see how loved he is by the two of you! Some adoptive parents create websites that the birth mother can check on a regular basis. Others post photos and videos on social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram.

When you call or email her, make sure to share that you think he’s the most wonderful baby in the world. Your enthusiasm lets her know that she’s getting what she wanted for him when she made her adoption plan: a loving, stable home with two parents.

Stages of Contact

While each open adoption is unique, there are predictable stages in birth mother involvement. Many seem to want frequent contact for the first six months. This can help them through their grief. Some birth mothers seek more contact at this early stage than they anticipated during their pregnancy. Try to balance your needs with hers, but give yourself plenty of time to bond with your son.

After the first year, some birth moms want less contact as they move on with their lives. The pattern holds true with visits as well. Birth mothers typically want to get updates three or four times during the course of the first year but may visit once or twice a year thereafter. If you developed a close relationship with your child’s birth mother during her pregnancy, you may want to see each other more often.

Many adoptive couples have shared that they grew closer to their baby’s birth mother as they worked the first weeks after placement together. When your child is older, you’ll be able to draw upon this closeness to help him understand his adoption story.

What’s a Typical Birth Mother Like?

What's a typical birth mother like?It’s common for hopeful adoptive parents to wonder what birth mothers are like. How old are most birth mothers? Are they married or single? Why are they choosing adoption? What’s a typical birth mother like? Today, we’re giving you the answers to these frequently-asked questions, and more!

A stereotypical birth mother is a teenager who dropped out of school once she learned of her pregnancy. She doesn’t have job skills. Because her parents have kicked her out, she has to get welfare. But the reality is, most birth mothers don’t fit into this stereotype.

Some birth parents are still working on their education, and their current life situation won’t work for good parenting. Many aren’t ready (financially or emotionally) to parent. Most are making an adoption plan out of love for their baby. Many are hoping for a two-parent family for their child, something that they can’t give their child right now. A few birth parents are even married, and can’t care for more children than they already have. It’s becoming more commonplace for the birth father or spouse to be involved and supportive of the adoption plan.

Deciding to make an adoption plan for a child is very difficult, but it’s a decision often made out of love. She could have gotten an abortion. But, because she values the life of her baby and loves him or her, she’s chosen adoption.

Some birth parents are on state or financial aid and simply can’t provide for this baby. There are also birth mothers from middle-class upbringings. She might be in college, live with her parents, or already have children. Birth parents might feel like they’re getting by but really can’t afford to provide for another child in addition to all they’re already doing.

It’s a myth that birth mothers have no job skills or education. Many birth mothers are going to school, already have a degree, or are in a stable career. Most have graduated high school and have held jobs. Studies have shown that women who choose adoption are more likely to have higher education and career goals for themselves than those who parent. Also, birth parents are more likely to finish school and have a job, and less likely to be on government aid.*

So what’s a typical birth mother like?

A typical birth mother is in her twenties or thirties, already parenting other children, and wants more for her baby than what she can provide. She may be in a relationship, but the man may not be taking on the role of a father to her kids. Even though she’s aware that adoption is a difficult decision, she knows it’s best for her baby.

The birth mom that you connect with could be completely and totally different than this, so that’s something you should also be prepared for!

*Source: The Institute for Adoption Information, Inc.’s “An Educator’s Guide to Adoption.”

Did You Know That There’s a Symbol of Adoption?

The symbol of adoptionIf you’ve been blessed by adoption, you might wish to honor your journey in a meaningful way. The symbol of adoption has been used by many to share their love of open adoption. As seen in this image, the symbol of adoption is a triangle entwined with a heart. Each of the three sides of the triangle signifies the adoption triad: birth family, adoptive family, and adoptee. The heart symbolizes the love present in an open adoption relationship!

We encourage you to appreciate the fact that all in the adoption triad play a role in building a healthy, safe life for the child. Understanding what each party in the triad should (and shouldn’t) contribute is an important first step. Today, we’re sharing about the roles of adoptive parents, birth parents, and adoptees!

Adoptive Parents

adoption loveAdoptive parents provide the child with daily care, support, and love. They’re responsible for the child emotionally, medically, and financially. And adoptive parents are responsible for helping their child grow healthy self-esteem about their adoption. Openness and honesty are encouraged from the very beginning. It means sharing in an age-appropriate way that the child’s birth parents created this adoption plan to give them the best life possible.

Adoptive parents should honor the promise of ongoing contact that they made to the birth parents. If you promised to send pictures and updates, send them. If you agreed to visits, then schedule them. Open adoption is built on trust. If contact doesn’t happen, your child might search for his or her birth parents. You don’t want your child to hear that you broke your promise to keep in touch!

Birth Parents

Birth parents are a vital part of the adoption triad. They’ll always have a biological link to their child. At the same time, they should honor the level of contact they agreed to. It’s difficult to manage expectations if they thought, for example, that their child would still call them “Mom.” Having a sensitive conversation with them can help.

Sometimes birth parents make negative choices after placement. If you’re worried about your child’s safety, it’s acceptable to look at boundaries. But don’t change your open adoption agreement because some of the choices are ones you don’t approve of. Simply express your concern and hope for them.

The Adoptee

What a sweet update on baby Brynlee!Children should be provided the truth about their adoption in a way they can understand. You can share more and answer more questions as your child gets older. That way, your child doesn’t grow up confused about where they came from.

When parents wait to tell their child that they were adopted, it comes as a major shock, and there’s the potential for relationships to suffer. Part of loving your adopted child is loving where they came from, including their birth mother. Face the challenges you might feel when your child is curious about their origins.

When you understand adoption from everyone’s point of view as well as what healthy boundaries look like, these roles in the adoption triad will bring positive outcomes.

Find out how Lifetime can help you achieve your dream of adopting a newborn!

To get started, just fill out our free online application.

Is It Positive Adoption Language to Call Her a “Birth Mother”?

is it positive adoption language to call her a birth mother?We wanted to share a question that our Florida adoption agency received recently about positive adoption language:

“I’ve noticed a few people saying online that the term ‘birth mother’ shouldn’t be used until after a woman places her child for adoption. So, I’m wondering if we should stop using the term ‘birth mother’? Is that negative adoption language?”

Let’s start with an easy definition…”birth mother” simply means a biological mother. So actually, a birth mother is any woman who gives birth.

In adoption language, we use the term ‘birth mother’ for a woman who’s considering adoption, or who is deciding to place her child. To identify the individuals involved in adoption, it makes things more accurate and simple to refer to adoptive parents (those adopting the child) and birth mothers (who will or have given birth). You’ll see that the legal paperwork required for adoption will use this adoption language to designate those involved in one child’s adoption.

Many adoption agencies and other adoption professionals prefer to use the term “birth mother.” It’s warmer than “biological mother,” which has a bit of a clinical ring to it.

We’ve seen terms like “expectant parent” or “expectant mother” used, but these aren’t always correct, since not every woman choosing adoption is pregnant. A mother can make an adoption plan weeks, months or years after her child is born; it’s never too late for adoption. Since many refer to adoptive parents as ‘expectantly’ waiting, using a term like “expectant parent” gets confusing. It starts to get very complicated, especially for people new to adoption and unfamiliar with positive adoption language.

Here at Lifetime Adoption Agency Florida, we don’t assume a woman is going to place her child when she’s in contact with us. We educate and provide support to every woman who calls us, regardless of whether she’s sure about adoption. In Lifetime’s social media accounts and informational materials, we use the term “birth mother” to protect her privacy. Of course, when we communicate with her one-on-one, she’s referred to by her name. Each woman who contacts Lifetime is listened to. We’re here provide her with help on her own terms, and as it applies to her unique situation.

It’s so important to be sensitive to a woman’s feelings when she’s deciding about her unplanned pregnancy and her baby’s future. Women typically see the term “birth mother” as positive adoption language when they were given the choice to lovingly and willingly choose adoption for her child. Using the term “birth mother” reminds us that she has an important role in creating her child’s custom adoption plan. Our hearts break for women who felt coerced into adoption, which was, unfortunately, the norm decades ago.

In open adoption, a woman who creates a plan for her baby or child can create and develop an on-going connection with her child and the adoptive parents. Whatever questions and thoughts she has are recognized, before, during, and after the adoption takes place. Even if she decides that adoption isn’t right for her, she’ll be able to help another woman who does choose adoption. So as you can see, the term “birth mother” is actually positive adoption language.

What NOT To Do at the Hospital

Many adoptive families nowadays are blessed to get invited by the birth parents to be present for the birth of their baby. We want to share some general guidelines with you today about the adoption hospital experience!

At the hospital, there’s such a difference between adoptive parents that mean well and those who act entitled. Join Lifetime as we share four things that adoptive couples should avoid doing at the hospital.

1. Don’t Invite People

While this is a joyous occasion for you, consider the birth parents. Unless they request the company of your friends and family, avoid the urge to invite them to the hospital.

We want to advise you to not to treat her hospital experience as your own, by celebrating with friends and family.

A birth mother kisses her baby2. Don’t Take Charge
The birth mother should always be the one taking the lead. Remember that right now, you don’t have any legal rights to her child. Show your birth mother the respect she deserves by honoring this fact and understanding boundaries. Don’t make any decisions for the baby until the adoption paperwork has been signed. That means that if hospital personnel asks you a question about the baby, you’ll need to remind them to ask the birth mother. She needs to be the one making the decisions for now.

Lifetime has heard from many birth mothers who cherish the time they’re able to spend with their baby after delivery. So, make sure to let her enjoy this time.

Remember, let the birth mother take the lead and always ask for her permission. It’s important that you allow her however much time she needs to have with her baby.

3. Don’t Stay for Hours on End
Make sure to give the birth mother regular breaks from visiting with you and give her the space she needs. It’s sometimes easy for adoptive couples to be so excited about becoming parents, that they miss her social cues saying she needs some space. Your birth mother definitely needs to rest after giving birth, and she might also need some time alone with her baby.

Follow her lead, and provide for her wants and needs as you can. Avoid trying to take over, and don’t ask her for favors. For example, we’ve heard of adoptive couples asking to have the baby room with them, or for them to sleep over in the birth mother’s room. Don’t be that couple! Your birth mother already has so much on her plate, and she deserves to be in charge.

4. Don’t Pressure Her
Many birth mothers already feel pressured to follow through with adoption, so don’t do or say anything that to add to that. An example is gifts. Even though adoptive couples mean well, giving a gift right now just adds to the pressure she already feels. Your birth mother’s aware you’ve traveled a long way to get to the hospital. She knows the emotional ties you’ve made to her baby.

Our advice is to make sure to communicate with her. Are you unsure of what to say or do? Let her know! Tell her that you’re not there to pressure her. Let her know you’ll still love and respect her should she decide to parent.

Remember, for years to come you’ll be telling your son or daughter their birth story. So what’s important now is that you act in a way that will make your child proud of the role you played.

Why Is It Important to Write a Letter to Your Child?

In choosing to make an adoption plan for your child, you’ve definitely given them a lifelong gift. Writing your child a letter, where you share your feelings of love and hope, will become a beautiful and cherished gift only you can provide. Today, we’re going to share with you how you can write this letter.
Many birth parents say, “I feel like my child is going to hate me for placing them up for adoption!” So that you can release your child into the adoptive parent’s home with trust, faith, and love, think about writing a special letter directly to your child. It can help you at this time of difficult emotions and show your true loving feelings for her child.
Begin your letter by telling your child what your hopes are for their lives. This may be one of the main reasons you chose adoption. Write about how picky you were in choosing the adoptive family. This letter is a good place to explain to them that you didn’t make an adoption plan because you didn’t care about them. In fact, it’s just the opposite: you did adoption because you care so much that you wanted to give them more than you were able to.
Make sure to get copies of this letter for your memory books or box. Rereading these loving words you’ve written down can help you when you feel grief and heartache.
You can ask the adoptive parents to give this letter to your child at a specific time. Or, maybe you’d rather they pick a time they feel is best. Your letter will be a treasure for your child for many years to come: it’s your hope and love fully expressed.
Some birth mothers feel like they can’t write a letter like this. It’s hard to put words to what you feel in your heart. We encourage you to avoid letting your words and feelings to be unwritten. The stories and pictures the adoptive parents provide your child will pale in comparison to the genuine words you share, telling about your adoption decision.
Writing a letter that shares your hope is a beautiful way to leave a legacy for your child!

Birth Mother Gift Ideas

get creative birth mother gift ideas hereLifetime recently asked our successful adoptive parents a survey question about birth mother gifts. We asked, “What birth mother gift ideas do you have that an adoptive couple can give their child’s birth mother to show their love, as a small gesture of their sincerest gratitude?”

Here’s what worked for others to show appreciation to their child’s birth mother after the adoption:

“We got our birth mom a heart necklace with a cross and angel’s wing charm attached. Wrote a little note about her being our angel that God sent to us and how she will forever be in our hearts.”

“For Christmas, we sent a homemade card with footprints.”

“Our son’s birth mom really loved the photo book we created for her off Snapfish!”

“We knew that she liked gardening, so we helped our daughter make her a homemade garden stone.”

“A touching gift idea is giving a canvas that your child painted.”

“We love to show our support for our favorite adoption non-profit, Lifetime Foundation, by giving her adoption jewelry.”

“We found out what her favorite restaurant is where she lives, and got her a gift card to the place.”

“A day of pampering: we gifted her a facial, massage, and pedicure at a great salon in her hometown.”

Before giving your birth mom a gift, please make sure to ask your adoption attorney if it’s legal in your state to give her a gift. Do you have ideas that didn’t make it to our list of birth mother gift ideas? Please share them in the comments section!

Help Bless Women in Need – Lifetime Foundation

help us bless birth mothers through the Lifetime Foundation

Learn How the Lifetime Foundation Helps Birth Mothers in Need

Birth Mother’s Day is this Saturday and we invite you to help the Lifetime Foundation bless women who are lovingly choosing adoption for a child! As one birth mother has shared, “It is an honor to have played such a role in you becoming a mother.”

The mission of Lifetime Foundation is to dedicate ourselves to the development of healthy and fulfilling futures, through scholarships for birth mothers, adoption grants for families opening their hearts to hard-to-place children, and advocacy for families who are living in sub-poverty situations.

Please consider partnering with us to help birth mothers. All donations are tax deductible and we’ll provide you with a donation receipt. If you’d like to donate visit or mail donations of maternity clothing, gift cards, and women’s toiletries to:

430 N Palora Ave
Yuba City, CA 95991

All donations are greatly appreciated and truly touch the hearts of the women we are honored to support through adoption planning.