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.
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 birth mother 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.
Seeing What’s Not There
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!
Adoption Choices of Colorado
For more information on adoption please contact Adoption Choices of Colorado. We can be reached via our website or phone 303-670-4401.
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
Rachel Robertson is a published journalist, book editor, certified Publishing Specialist, and aspiring novelist. She graduated from Central Washington University (CWU) in March 2011, having found her writing voice within the Creative Nonfiction genre and grew to work as a freelance book editor for small presses all across the United States.
In June 2018, she embarked on an internship with Virginia Frank and came on board with Adoption Choices Inc., Not for Profit 501(c)(3), in December 2018. Between her mutual passion with adoption and surrogacy, and her own personal history with adoption, Rachel is excited to research and share topics each week that will spread awareness and better serve the faithful patrons of Adoption Choices Inc.
When Rachel isn’t haunting her local Starbucks or Barnes and Noble, she’s avidly pouring over her Writer’s Digest subscription or cozying up with a cup of tea and book. She currently resides in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her beloved wife and Border Collie.
“Closed, Semi-Open, or Open Adoption: Which Is Right for You?” Adoption Choices of Nevada, 21 Dec. 2017, www.adoptionchoicesofnevada.org/closed-semi-open-open-adoption-right/.
“Impact of Adoption on Birth Parents.” Child Welfare Information Gateway, www.childwelfare.gov/pubPDFs/f_impact.pdf.
“Impact of Adoption on Birth Parents: Responding to the Adoptive Placement.” Adoption.com, adoption.com/wiki/Impact_of_Adoption_on_Birth_Parents:_Responding_to_the_Adoptive_Placement.
“Understanding Adoption: A Developmental Approach.” Paediatrics & Child Health, Pulsus Group Inc, May 2001, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2804559/.