Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Triad and how you refer to all sides

I got a comment on "How to" part 2 from April @ Adopting our Third, I'm going to paste it in here, and link to her site, because it was a good question.

I've noticed that at times you call your child's adoptive parents "my adoptive parents." Some birth mothers find it offensive for adoptive parents to call their child's birth mother "my birth mother." What's your take on this?

I can't answer for ALL birth parents, but for me, it doesn't bother me at all. Since we were all friends before the adoption and since we have a lot of mutual friends we decided to use those terms to keep it private. That is not to say people didn't figured out who their birth mother was, and who I placed my son with. But we still keep that private. I think as time has gone by I don't mind them using my name now, but when I first got pregnant I was very ashamed, and felt very guilty. So I didn't want people to know, but as the pregnancy progressed, and I got sicker, more and more people found out. And they just put two and two together. I do get upset when people who I did not tell, or they did not tell, talks to others about our situation. I know there is one person who figured it out on their own, and was talking to people and telling them that I had a baby and gave it to my adoptive parents. I was not happy, and I don't think it is right for anyone to spread things around, even if they are true, that aren't theirs to spread. But that is a different blog, for a different day. Back to the topic at hand...

When they talk about the adoption, they will always say, "Please pray for OUR birth mother" and when I talk about them, I usually call them MY adoptive parents, sometimes THE adoptive parents. It just depends on my mood, and how I am feeling about it at the time. Sometimes I refer to them as the people who adopted my son. I try very hard not to use their names when telling people about it because I feel like that would be an invasion of privacy. But in telling my story, sometimes I feel like it is just easier to say their last name, because I did have 2 people mention asking the couple that did adopt him. (See how confusing that was, so to confuse people less, I'll say "The Red's" (not their last name, but an example...) Like I'll say, someone asked me if I had thought about "the Red's" and I will then go into why I had thought about them and why I didn't think they would be up for it. If that makes ANY sense, ha! I also try not to go into too much detail in as to why they choose adoption. It isn't my story to tell, but people will ask why they decided to adopt, and so I'll tell them that she is unable to get pregnant because she had her ovaries removed. I don't tell them why or how, just that they were removed. And I also tell people that they were thinking about adopting before she lost the ovaries, as they had always wanted 2 bio children and then to adopt. God just had other plans for them, seeing as they just have 1 bio child.

I'm going to take it one step further and touch on what we call the child. I call him MY son, because well, he is my flesh and blood, and even though I don't parent him, he will always carry my genes, and I feel like he will always be my son. They call him their son, because legally they are his parents, his guardians, so it just makes sense. Sometimes I have referred to him as OUR son. Because we all love him the same. Sometimes I get upset when I hear them say that he is their son, because it seems like they are forgetting who gave him life, but I know it isn't true, that they realize my part in our sons life. But that is something that I have to deal with. Again, these things are all on a case by case basis, and I can't talk for all birth mothers. But for me, I don't have any problem with what they refer to me as or what they call our son. And I hope they don't mind me calling them MY adoptive parents.  

I hope that answered the question, and please, if you have a question, don't hesitate to ask. I more than likely will answer you privately or post it as a blog, unless I don't feel comfortable answering, and then I will privately let you know that I got the question, but I don't feel comfortable answering right now.

Another thing April suggested is doing a "What TO Say to Birth Parents" - I am going to try to compile some things, but really I can't think of anything right now, and since so many people are different I think it would be hard to generalize that. But I may think of a way to do a post about what people have said to me that have helped. Or what you could say to ME to help. And not make it about just birth parents. Like I said, I'm not sure how that one is going to work, but just know I'm thinking about it, and appreciate the suggestion and questions. And if you have anything else you'd like to see on my blog I am totally open to suggestions.



April said...

Thanks for sharing, Mandi. :) I hope I didn't overwhelm you with all my suggestions. I really appreciate hearing your point of view. I think I'll write a post soon about what I call my daughters' birth mothers and the kinds of things about my girls' birth history that I choose not to share.

Ronnie and Suzi said...

Great post again. As we approach Mother's day, I often wonder what is the best way to acknowledge this day with our son's birthmom. If you are comfortable, I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

Adoptive Momma said...

Another excellent post Mandi! I plan to link up to it tomorrow. You are educating and it is very beneficial information. I say "our birthmother" sometimes without even thinking about it. I consider our boys' birth mothers part of our family because they created our family. You are your son's mother, you always will be and when we talk to our boys about adoption we say your mother or your birth mother. Another thing we will always tell them is you can never have too many people who love you and you are special because you have a few extra in this world.

S.I.F. said...

You are awesome lady! All the terminology of both adoption and infertility can get very confusing, and I know some people get offended by things that others don't (I know I even slip up with the infertility stuff sometimes and say the wrong things). I love that you are being so open about what does and does not work for you!