One question I get a lot about open adoption is, "How can you bear sharing your son with his birthmom?" Variations include, "Aren't you afraid he will go back to her when he grows up?" "Who does he think is his REAL mom?" "Isn't it confusing for him?"
I suppose I don't have these insecurities because as an adoptee, I know a child views his parents as the ones caring for him or her day to day. I am completely confident that the Nugget will always view us as Mommy and Daddy. Now, he might like his Tummy Mummy and Poppy "more" at times because they're not the ones who have to limit his TV time or ensure that his entire dinner doesn't consist of french fries. But really, in my opinion, a parent's job isn't to be popular - and if the 9 year old Nugget claims he'd rather go visit Tummy Mummy than be at home, I'm not going to take it any more personally than if he said he'd rather go visit Grammy or Uncle J. And you know what, I WANT him to love his birthparents (shocking! scandalizing!), because I love them.
It's very difficult for me to sum up my exact feelings for the Nugget's amazing Tummy Mummy without getting all gushy and rambling, so I thought I would attempt to make a top 10 list.
Why I LOVE the Nugget's Tummy Mummy:
10. She supports us 100% in our parenting. Although every open adoption is different, ours is not a co-parenting relationship. We make all the parenting decisions, and she supports us. I'm not saying she agrees with every choice we make, but she supports our right to make them. I know if the Nugget ever disagrees with us and cries to her on the phone, she will cheerfully tell him to suck it up and kick him back over to us!
9. She is smart, funny, and sweet. If I had just met her as an individual and she wasn't the birthmom of my son, I would still adore and admire her.
8. Having her in our lives gives the Nuggets roots I never had. I don't feel the need to search for my birthmom at present, but what I wouldn't give for a photo of her. Is there a woman in Korea with my eyes/my love of chubby things/my tendency to lose things when I put them someplace where I won't lose them? I may never know. The Nugget has photos galore, emails and letters, a genealogy, a medical history, gifts and cards, and the ability to call her and ask questions or just to say hi. If you are a bio child, you probably take for granted the offhand comments of how you have your mother's nose and your dad's hair, that you could knock out a family tree project for school without a fuss, and that you can check off your medical history at the doctor's. Not having these things in my life, these simple things folks take for granted, pained me as a child and still makes me feel a wee bit empty today. Our Nugget will not have that pain. (Just admitting that pain is a huge step for me. I used to think that any feelings of loss or curiosity about my adoption meant I was horribly ungrateful to my adoptive family. So untrue. Everyone wants and deserves to know their roots. My longing for roots has nothing to do with the love I have for my family.)
6. She has this incredible drive and determination. When she puts her mind to something, I know it will happen, despite the odds. She has passed this stubborn tenacity onto the Nugget, and I am so grateful for it. I am excited to see where she goes in life.
5. She is proud of the Nugget. Even though she may be judged harshly for making adoption plans, she never hesitates to introduce him to friends, to brag over his pictures, to claim that she has a son that she is not parenting. When we are together, she introduces us by saying, "This is my baby, and these are his parents." It would be so easy for her to "sweep him under the rug", but she never does, and I am in constant awe and gratitude for her pride and honesty. By sharing her story, she opens minds and hearts to adoption. The Nugget will always know he is not a dirty secret. She is my constant reminder that love triumphs over fear.
4. Although her life is busy, she goes the extra mile to keep in touch and let us know what's going on in her life. I have complete confidence that she will always be a part of our family and I won't have to explain to the Nugget why his Tummy Mummy disappeared without a forwarding address.
3. Instead of having to speculate on the reasons for his adoption plan, the Nugget will always know why he was placed and that he has always been loved and wanted by both his adoptive and birth families. I never have to say, "I think your birthmom loved you because she chose to carry you." I can say, "I KNOW your Tummy Mummy loved you when you were growing inside her, and she loves you today. I know that because she told me. Would you like to call her and talk to her?" I struggle to this day with people-pleasing, because deep inside, I believed my whole childhood that I was placed for adoption because I was defective and my birthmom didn't love me. My parents always loved me with all their hearts and tried their best to convince me that she must have loved me too because she made my adoption plan...but that wasn't enough for me. I needed to hear it FROM HER. The only thing that has healed me is witnessing the love the Nugget's Tummy Mummy has for him. I live vicariously through that love, hoping that my birthmom loved/loves me that way.
2. She loves, loves, loves OUR son. That's right, I do share him with her. We are both his mothers. Maybe that unnerves people but I don't care. It is so much fun to brag and gush about our boy to each other. I think it's fantastic that he will have another person to cheer him on through life.
1. She gave us the most incredible gift a human can give. She gave us life. She endured morning sickness, teasing and glares from foolish people, swollen ankles, cravings, summer heat, 11 "extra" days of pregnancy, a C-section, and her first words after giving birth to the Nugget were, "I can't wait to show him to his Mommy and Daddy." I can never, ever repay her a fraction of the happiness and joy she has given us. All I can do is pay her love forward to the Nugget and thank God that she chose us.
P.S. Hey Lil Sib's birthmom...if you ever read this in future world, know I will love you too, for the person you are, but our relationship is sure to be different because you are a different person. Please don't ever feel that you need to measure yourself against L, just as we would not ever expect our children to be alike in every way.