The most important relationships we, as adoptees, can have are the ones we have with our parents, and sometimes, if it’s possible, with our birth mothers. The following blog will discuss perspectives on dreams about and thoughts regarding birth mothers. This is especially pertinent during this important month of November, also known as National Adoption Month.
You don’t have to tell me, I can still believe
When I close my eyes at night sometimes I can see her brown olive skin in front of my face. Her soft hands wrap around my round face. I don’t see anything else from the neck up, but I can feel her warmth in this soft embrace. It is a nice peaceful moment, just her and me. This occurs once in a while, and when it does, what I think are minutes together turn out to be seconds. The more I twist and turn in bed, the more she disappears like the burglar in the night, robbing me of my happiness and hopefulness of ‘one more minute.’
For as long as I can remember, I have referred to my birth mother as the missing puzzle piece of my life. I may find breadcrumbs along the way with research, paper work, but it’s never enough information. My adoption is a closed adoption, which means that I do not have access to papers, or any more information than what I have. This frustration has left me with only my dreams and daydreams of what could have been.
Many would look at my situation as the dead end of my story. However, I’m fortunate to have a supportive and loving adoptive family that continues to join me on this long, bumpy, ride of finding out more about my birth family.
Types of Adoptions
To better understand adoption, it’s essential to describe some of the different types. This may help clarify how each type can affect the relationship –real or imagined – between a birth mother and her child. The various adoption categories can be explored by both the birth and adoptive parents when they meet with their adoption agency and/or lawyer.
Closed Adoption is also known as “confidential adoption.” There is no contact or further information given about the birth mother or father. Moreover, there is no possible way to identify the birth mother.
Semi-Open Adoption allows the adoptive and biological families to maintain a certain type of privacy, yet, makes it possible for the adoptee to reach out and have limited contact with their birth family in the future. This is often a popular choice for the adoptive family because it can allow the birth parent to know something about their child’s life even though the birth parent is not involved. The child may, at some point, decide to meet his or her birth mother.
Open Adoption occurs when the adoptive family has contact with the birth family as the child grows. Contact between both families often is described as a “mediated” visit, in which the adoption agency or attorney facilitate the communication. Some open adoptions are even less formal, with non-supervised visits and inclusion of the birth mother in some of the child’s activities.
Dreams of Birth Mothers
A dream consists of thoughts, images and sensations in a person’s mind during sleep.
Many adoptees suffer with questions about the unknown. This can linger on for some time throughout their lives. When we dream, we tap into our unconscious, which is why it is no surprise adoptees may dream about their birth parents. The dreams could last long or could be brief moment in time.
Many adoptees may be dealing with traumatic loss, which leaves them with many important, unanswered questions, including but not limited to: “where is my birth mother” “does she ever think of me?” and “does she miss me?” Questions like these may trigger the brain at night, which is why adoptees dream of them.
Daydreaming about birth mothers may also occur with an adoptee. This can be a welcome or unwelcome distraction from daily life. When dealing with normal separation or loss, the adoptee may find daydreams about their birth family can be triggered These daydreams may allow the adoptee to be a peace with certain aspects of adoption or may give them the push needed to search for their birth mother, if they desire to do so. An adoptee should never feel pressured to search for their birth mother if they do not feel ready or decide never to do so.
Adoptees should have access to different resources where they can to discuss their feelings about their birth mother. Finding a safe place for an adoptee is important for the individual that should not be avoided or denied. Sometimes they can discuss their feelings with family, friends, support groups, and different specialized counselors. Each can help the adoptee communicate their feelings to better understand the grief that may be occurring within them. It’s also important to remember that thinking about their birthmother does not mean that adoptees do not love their adoptive families. They are more likely looking to find the “missing pieces” of themselves and their story.
Reality of Birth Mothers
Adoption can be traumatic not only for the adopted individual, but for the birth mother as well. The moment they are surrendering the baby can trigger different phases of grief; shock, denial, sorrow, depression, anger, guilt and, finally, acceptance.
A birth parent can feel the loss on the child’s birthday, or the age the child reaches developmental milestones in his or her life. There is regret and sometimes hesitation to reach out if the adoption circumstances allow them to do so. Many may choose not to reach out to their child because they do not want them to be disappointed by who they are. This is where birth mothers may daydream about their child and how they are doing. They understand there is a lot on the line if something goes wrong if they were to meet, they do not want to disrupt the child’s life.
Some birth mothers may have trouble maintaining and forming a relationship with their child. They do not want to repeat the experience of loss, guilt and abandonment should the reunion not work out. The relationship between a birth mother and adopted child is different from what that child has built with their adoptive parent, and it’s important for all involved to be aware that their roles in the child’s life are each valuable in its unique way.
Birth mothers in need of support can search out similar groups, as mentioned above for the adopted individuals. There are support groups, and counselors dedicated to the specific needs for the birth mothers before and after adoption. Reaching out to the adoption agency is a good first step in seeking out resources and information on where one can begin.
One of the hardest decisions a birth mother can make is to give up her child for adoption. This can be a painful process but many birth parents are able to make peace with the decision. For some, a connection with the birth mother can be an important part of an adoptees life. For others, it may not be a positive force. Only the adoptive parents and later the adoptee himself or herself, can make that decision. In either case, it is important to recognize the reality reflected in dreams and daydreams, and the effort needed to deal with feelings raised by the birth mother’s not being a part of the adoptee’s life. It is important for all involved to take time for themselves and find a safe place to open up and consider the importance and possible outcomes of connecting with their birth mother.
If you are a birth mother, an adoptive family or an adoptee, I want to wish you a Happy National Adoption Month!
https://www.adoptionchoicesofnevada.org/closed-semi-open-open-adoption-right/ – more in-depth information on types of Adoptions
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2804559/ – Understanding Adoption – Dreams