Reciprocity is when both parties engage in a relationship. If you give honesty, you get honesty. If you are receiving transparency, give transparency. In the relationship I have with my son’s parents, this concept was defined from the start. That’s always the best place for it: in the beginning of the relationship. It is the beginning of a relationship that the rest of the relationship will be built upon. Set a great foundation from the start, and watch as respect and reciprocity blossoms going forward.
Honesty Goes Both Ways
When meeting with a potential birth mother for the first time, she will hopefully be as honest as possible about what she is looking for in adoptive parents. I’m the kind of woman who likes to get straight to the point, and I don’t believe in wasting time. There is no point, in my opinion, in pretending to be something you are not when the issue at hand goes so deep and is so crucial. After all, we are talking about providing a life for a child, and I take that very seriously.
Searching for the family that will raise her child is not something a birth mother takes lightly, and my advice to birth mothers is to be prepared to cover some hard topics within the first meeting. My advice to adoptive parents includes doing the same and keeping in mind that while this may feel like the most intense interview if your life, it isn’t about that. It is about finding the right fit for the child and the birth mother so that as the relationship moves forward, there is reciprocity, respect, honesty, and transparency.
Back to That Foundation
The foundation that my son’s parents and I have built is strong, and for almost seven years, it has endured and strengthened. We are a family. My hope is that you find the same. I pray that adoptive parents remain patient and honest as they go through the journey of meeting their child and that child’s birth mother. My faith is strong these days, and I truly believe that just because we gave birth to a child, doesn’t mean we were meant to raise them. When adoption is the best choice, it is not a choice to be taken lightly. This is a decision that a birth mother will live with forever.
I have watched from afar as my son has grown up with the same values that his mother assured me she would raise him with. I have heard his manners over the phone. I have seen pictures of his genuine smile. I have listened to stories about the friendships he is developing and how intelligent he is. He travels, participates in sports, and goes to a great school. He knows he is loved. He is secure. All of these things are what I couldn’t fully give to him, and now he has them.
It’s Worth the Wait
My son’s parents, and the life that they are providing him, were worth the wait in my adoption story. Don’t settle for less. As adoptive parents, your actions will speak louder than words, and I’m positive that the birth mother will see and appreciate your patience. Overcoming the wait is something that speaks volumes to the character of a person, especially when it comes to desiring to become a parent. Let your potential birth mother know about what you have gone through and how dedicated you are to raising a child. If her values and desires seem to match yours, then perhaps you have found her.
I would rather act for the long-term when it comes to something like adoption, rather than thinking in the short-term. What I mean by this is that a relationship of a lifetime is being established upon your first meeting. While there will be bumps in the road, the mutual respect and transparency that will be created will help to endure and navigate those bumps.
I have worked through bumps in the road with my son’s parents as we traverse the unchartered waters of our relationship. We define boundaries when necessary, and respect them once set. We adapt to changes as our son grows up, and we consider his needs above all of our needs. The open agreement has been maintained, and I am soon to look forward to another bundle of photographs with an update. I love receiving updates, and I cherish the moments when I interact with my son and his parents, whether it be in person or via phone.
Remember the golden rule from scripture: “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” – Matthew 7:12 ESV
Lindsay is a guest blogger for Considering Adoption. She placed her son for adoption 7 years ago and hopes to use her experience to support and educate other expectant mothers considering adoption, as well as adoptive families.