What do I tell my child about their birth mother?

What do I tell my child about their birth mother?

Harrison's mom shares her story.

Reprinted from Journeys Newsletter Fall 2006
Hi Mary,
This is Harrison’s mother (adoptive mother). My son’s adventures in life have been eventful. He came into the world a preemie and was hospitalized for two weeks after his birth. He was born with sleep apnea and developed RSV at 8 weeks of age, again being hospitalized. He required an apnea monitor for one year to alert us of any difficulty with his respirations.
My son has always been a very strong person in any situation. He has a wonderful personality, a smile that lights up the room, he is very smart, and kind to everyone.
We followed the advice of Dawn, FIA’s Director, about letting Harrison know he was adopted from the very beginning. I also told him that a very special lady had him for me. I also told him what a wonderful woman she was and that she allowed me to raise him and love him for the rest of his life.
Throughout his preschool years, Harrison would make up stories about his birth mother and her family. He would tell stories about taking walks through the forest or that they played in the park. I became very concerned about these stories and again consulted with Dawn to see if this was normal. These stories would come and go. He continued to ask questions and I always answered each one with the truth. The birth mother had sent a letter to my son and a picture to give to him when I felt he was ready to have them.
Last summer my son was going through my personal items (as most children do). He found the letter and the picture of his birth mother. He went to his room to read the letter and study the picture. Finally, he brought them to me and we discussed his treasures. He found these treasures when Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf. He asked if she still lived there and I told him as much as I knew. He immediately wanted to find her for fear she was injured or without a home. He worried about his biological sister as well. We called Dawn and faxed the letter from his birth mother so she could read it. Then with my permission she talked to Harrison about his feelings and what he wanted. Dawn, Harrison’s father and myself decided that he was mature enough to handle whatever the situation may bring. We posted with the Red Cross, called other agencies and nothing turned up. Then one day...he was online with the postings and found where his birth mother’s grand- parents were also looking for her. Of course we had to make the phone call...she accepted Harrison with open arms. He has already met his great- grandfather and continues weekly phone conversations with his great-grandmother.
We have spoken with his grand-mother as well. Though he has not made contact with his birth mother, she knows he is doing well and is loved more than anything else in this world.
We plan a family reunion in July at his great-grandmother’s home on a lake in Michigan. Harrison cannot wait and neither can I. I want to meet our extended family...yes, it is my extended family too. His birth family has made me feel so comfortable and special as well.
You never know how anyone will feel when uniting the adoptive family and the birth family. I can only say from our experience it is a joyful time in our lives. Harrison is only 14 and very mature for his age. He has been able to manage his feelings with the help of both families.
My son has many talents and they have definitely come from his biological family. They are musicians, singers, and writers. Harrison is a Jr. Olympic Champion in Power Tumbling and Trampoline, he plays musical instruments, sings, dances (ballet, hip-hop, jazz, tap) and attends the creative and performing arts school in our area. Now he has a contract in New York for acting, singing and dancing. He will be auditioning for films, commercials, Broadway productions and commercial print. He just won four awards for singer, two-person scene, actor photography and model photography.
In writing this letter, I hope it lessens some of the fears of your adoptive families. I too have had ill feelings in my stomach over the “what if’s.” But I decided I needed to share my wonderful son with his biological family, so they could enjoy him, love him and care about him as I do.
Please Share, Thank You!