Meeting Birth Parents

(25 Posts)
Familyfinder Thu 08-May-14 20:18:01

We are all now set up for 'bridging' to begin. Parents of child would like to meet us. We have agreed to do this as we thought it may help the child later on if we had actually met the parents.

The meeting apparently lasts between 15-20 minutes, but what do you talk about? I would be grateful if you could give me an idea if this meeting was helpful to yourselves and in what ways.

Thank you

Devora Thu 08-May-14 20:41:29

I tried twice to meet the bm, but both times she pulled out. I mainly wanted to reassure her that we were nice people who would take great care of her child, and also to ask her lots of questions: about the birth, about her interests and her own childhood, about her hopes for her child's life, about extended family. Any little nugget, anecdote, information that could be passed on.

odyssey2001 Thu 08-May-14 23:49:29

Ours lasted an hour and we could have had two. We asked about origin of name, early memories, hopes and wishes for our/their child, likes and dislikes of birth parents (as a child and an adult). It was really useful and I don't regret it for a second.

OurMiracle1106 Fri 09-May-14 09:08:33

I remember asking them questions were they religious how he was doing how his speech was coming along. They asked about his name Where it came from. Where he got his love of an animals from. Horses etc. It was actually a natural conversation generally. They took pictures for when ds is older. I had to push to get a meeting however they told me they had been keen to meet me so I feel it was probably social services not communicating

Not all parents want to meet though.

UnderTheNameOfSanders Fri 09-May-14 11:49:14

Why the names were chosen
Any hobbies or particular interests BM had enjoyed as a child
Any particular wishes / hopes from the BM for the children (e.g. to get the chance to do xxxx)

From our side, reassuring BM that we would love and care for the children, that we would speak positively about her to them, that we would write.

It was really helpful. In particular we have a better 'picture' of BM in our heads so when we write we can tailor the letters better.

Very emotional, but more scary for our children's BM than for us.

OurMiracle1106 Fri 09-May-14 12:17:00

Yes to very emotional. My ds's mum (im birth mum) was in tears as soon as she saw me. There was a lot of tears and I did ask (and please do) that social servuces provide tissues cos I have found that the family room at the local authority I'm under never has any (which is where bad news such as Child not coming home and these meetings are scheduled for so really I feel they should. Goes without thought it would be emotional and possibly involve tears)

Familyfinder Fri 09-May-14 17:36:55

Thank you for your messages above and I take those on board. My DH is not at all sure that meeting the birth parents would be of any benefit to anyone but themselves and tick a box for the Social Workers. We have been told so much about them and a huge amount about the child from the Foster Mother already.

I wonder if meeting birth parents is easier if they have had their children removed through no fault of their own ie: learning difficulties, too young to cope etc rather than through not looking after them.

Lilka Fri 09-May-14 20:54:59

There is a benefit to meeting which doesn't come from the answers to your questions - (btw I asked about name, the birth, BM's hobbies, any memories or anecdotes about DD she would like to share and have DD know about, the things she hoped for DD's future, which of her birth relatives DD most takes after, what she wanted DD to know and be told about her, what she most wanted to hear about in letterbox, among other things)

That other benefits are that you've only heard about BM on paper so far, and this is quite abstract. Meeting her, and seeing and interacting with her as a human being, adds a whole new layer to this.

I heard all about lack of care, abuse etc, and I was really apprehensive before the meeting for these meetings. But I found that I gained a lot of empathy for her, and I gained even more insight into why she was never going to be able to change. I can't really state how much I gained from seeing her, from knowing her a bit, as a human being, not a figure on paper. There are some things that can't really be conveyed in writing

I also picked up on some of her mannerisms that DD also has, which I have been able to share with DD, and DD loved hearing that.

You can tell your child some things about their birth parents which are not second hand from a social worker, but that comes straight from you. Paperwork which says "X loves <the child> very much" is not the same as, "I met your birth mum X, and she told me that she loved you". I know this, because your birth mum told me so herself, rather than I know this because a social worker told me. I can tell you this about your birth mum from my experience. I think that's very valuable

I really think meeting is very worth it in a lot of situations (though obviously not all). I met even though there was a history of serious neglect and abuse, and I personally feel that I gained a huge amount and the meeting was very helpful to me. Indirectly it's been beneficial to DD. Also, the fact that BM met me, is more evidence that she was in many ways accepting the adoption, and that's something that's helped DD.

UnderTheNameOfSanders Fri 09-May-14 21:01:45

^^ Yes to what Lilka said.

Familyfinder Tue 13-May-14 17:05:20

Thank you for all your replies, they were very positive on the subject and I admire your views. My DH and I have discussed this ie the pros and cons of meeting with them and have decided we just do not want to meet them during bridging week. We feel we have enough to deal with bonding with the little one. I know that the birth mum is not in a good place at the moment and if she gets upset I fear I will remember that forever and it will spoil everything. I can't see that meeting them in anyway benefits anyone. I don't know if they had hopes and dreams for their children but they never looked after them so I guess they were only concerned with their own needs.

OurMiracle1106 Tue 13-May-14 19:47:06

family I didn't meet my ds's parents until after he had been placed with them for some months. Mainly because I didn't want to meet every potential adopter especially if that could affect his placement. You may feel differently in a few months.please do consider meeting them at some point in the future. Right now they are a figure on a piece of paper that has all their faults but very often none of their strengths even if it is only that they love their child and had been accepting of the care proceedings and placement order.

And like you said you guess. You don't know what was going on that caused the child's needs to be neglected. And also it depends to what degree they got neglected as well tbh

disneygirl10 Tue 13-May-14 20:15:43

You might feels different in a few months. Intros are a hard time for everyone and I couldn't have coped with that aswell.
I met ds bm he had been with us for about 3 months.
During intros Bm wasn't coping well, I asked again at a review meeting as I thought it was important for ds. I felt I would better prepared for any future questions ds might ask.
This might not possible in every case and definitely depends on the degree of abuse or neglect.
Ds bm was very young and vulnerable herself.

Maryz Tue 13-May-14 20:33:41

My children are teenagers now.

We met dd's birth parents, we didn't meet ds's.

It's only now I realise what a loss that is to him - with dd, we can say "yes, we met them, this is the impression we got, this is what they said". With ds it's hard to explain that they didn't want to meet us - it would be even harder to explain that we refused to meet them.

I rarely give harsh advice here - I'm usually of the opinion that whatever makes you happy is the way to go. But I feel very strongly that you are making a mistake that you may not recognise for many years.

Also remember - the birth parents may not have looked after the children; they may have been neglectful and even abusive, but in years to come you want to be able to look your children in the eye and know that you have done everything you can to help them come to terms with the fact that they are adopted. And that means facing up to things that are very, very difficult to do.

BettyBotter Tue 13-May-14 21:05:26

Can I ask a couple of simple questions:

if your mum told you that when you were little she had been offered special key to a box that contained information all about you, but she'd chosen not to take the key in case what was in the box was upsetting, how would you feel about your mum? And about the contents of the box?

or to ask another way:

in whose benefit is it that you don't meet your child's BPs?

Maryz Tue 13-May-14 21:11:20

I worry that you may be making this decision for the wrong reasons.

Up there you say "My DH is not at all sure that meeting the birth parents would be of any benefit to anyone but themselves" - quite apart from the fact that it might be of benefit to you, it probably would be of benefit to your children in the future, is this really a reason not to do it?

It won't harm you; it might help them.

I've always felt that as adoptive parents we have gained so hugely from adoption that the few small things that we can do for birth parents (who are the net losers in this), we should do, if that makes sense? Even if they are things we really, really, really don't want to do.

Devora Tue 13-May-14 21:29:23

I have to say, I think you are making a mistake. The potential problems of meeting (upsetting you and spoiling your bridging week) seem to me to be far outweighed by the potential benefits of doing so. You just don't know, right now, what will be important to your child in the future. It may turn out to be incredibly important to them that you can describe their birth mother and talk about what she was like.

Honestly, you are in for a stressful week and I understand you wanting to make it less stressful. But, put brutally, the implications of making the wrong choice here are much bigger for your child than for you. You would not be doing this as a kindness to the birth parents; you would be doing it as an act of love for your child.

This is of course your choice to make, and I wish you all the best whatever you do. I'm being blunt because I think, from what you've written, that there's just something here that you're not seeing yet.

disneygirl10 Tue 13-May-14 21:35:19

Family finder my dh didn't meet ds bm as it was difficult to get time off work and he didn't feel as strongly about it as I did.
Actually I think it was better for all involved that it was just me and bm. I think she would have found it even harder with 2 of us. It was very emotional for everyone involved and it was a lots easier just me bm and the social workers.
Dh was less sympathetic than me but as the time has gone on that has changed. Especially watching all the recent programmes on adoption.
Maybe it is something you could consider in a month or so?

Familyfinder I am so sorry this is a tough time and feels like an added pressure. I do agree with everyone that it is best to meet them. Maybe to meet/her then once little one is placed with you and you have had some together, if you feel during this week is too difficult.

It is very heartbreaking that for many of us our children's birth parents could not look after them, and of course this can make us feel angry and sad and not want to do things that might be perceived as for their benefit. But I really do feel that ultimately the benefit will be for the little one and may also for you, in time, come to be quite significant.

All the very best with this coming week.

sorry that should be meet her/them....

,,, to do things that might be perceived as for their (the birth parents) benefit.

redfishbluefish Wed 14-May-14 00:08:42

Sorry, Familyfinder, that you and DH think it best not to meet BP. Perhaps after placement would make more sense instead of dusting intros. But I wonder what exactly is going to be 'spoiled' if you do meet them? Even if BM is emotional, surely one of our tasks as APs is to gather all the info available, whether written on paper or from speaking to various people who have been a part of our LOs lives before us so as to be able to help our LOs as best we can later on? DH and I met BM and we were incredibly nervous about it, and she was clearly emotional, but the conversation was positive and everyone felt it was. We took a photo with BM for LO's LSB and I am very glad we can include that. And that we can say to LO that we met her. No way to predict what LO will find helpful in the future, so we just want to be as prepared as well as we can.

Good luck!

OurMiracle1106 Wed 14-May-14 00:19:00

I should also say that a child will ask at some point whose eyes/nose/hair etc do I have. These aren't written on paper they don't write. Child x is a child of x years who has his mother's nose and his grandfathers eyes and his dads ears. They write he has blue eyes a small nose and average ears. They also won't be able to tell you how he was born. It might be by a normal birth at hospital x at whatever time but it won't be he was born after x amount of hours labour. Went into hospital at x time. However many hours later x was born and then so and so visited at whatever time mum and baby stayed in for however long. It's basic information.

Please consider that once the child is older they will ask questions that you might not have answers to. Also how would you feel if you were in a bad mental state. Lost your child as a result and spent the next up to 18 YEARS not knowing if that child was loved and looked after and provided for.

I can tell you this much. If I hadn't have met them and seen how much they love my son, I wouldn't be able to go to court in a few weeks time and be backing the application for the adoption order. I would have been contesting it.

Hi

Just happened upon this thread... I am a child who was adopted and am now 34 (and just got my first BFP!) Thought you might want to hear the view of someone who would give the child's perspective, rather than second guessing (of course I am only one adopted child so may not be the norm).

I think FamilyFinder should do what her and her husband feel best with - I would not have held it against my parents if I found out they had turned down a chance to meet my birth mother (I don't even know if this sort of thing happened back then).

"I should also say that a child will ask at some point whose eyes/nose/hair etc do I have." Don't agree at all - I never have, although I have a photo of my birth mother and know I look like her. I've also never been interested in knowing about the birth etc, so I think these are quite sweeping generalisations. If any of this curiosity were totally to be expected of every adopted child, then why would I never have wanted to read the letter that my birth mother wrote to me when she gave me up for adoption? (And it's not that I am bitter towards her, or that I wouldn't want to upset my parents - as they have been quite open about it). I just honestly have very little interest.

As I said, I am only one adopted child of many, but I think FamilyFinder and her husband need to do what is best for them and shouldn't beat themselves up about it if they don't feel it is right.

Sorry, I probably don't belong here - just feel that people make a lot of assumptions when you are adopted (that you must feel something is missing, that you must have some desire to trace "family") and it's very often not the case!

Frances

Maryz Mon 19-May-14 13:43:53

Of course you belong here, Frances smile All opinions are welcome, and those of adopted children even more welcome.

Interestingly, my two children would have polar opposite opinions on most of these issues, thus proving the point that everyone is different, and that there is probably no right or wrong way of doing anything.

Family, I hope your intros are going well, and it isn't all too stressful.

bakinggood Mon 19-May-14 14:13:08

hi at first dh didn't want to, I said that was fine but I was going to go anyway and was happy going without him but he changed his mind and came along.

we had arranged to meet bm and bgm with our sw and dcs sw . Bm didn't turn up - said she couldn't cope, but bgm did. It was along time ago. we asked about who chose their names, about the family, and a few other things. mainly though we talked about what plans we had as a family, how we were going to bring dcs up and the kind of opportunities they would get.

we thought it went well, it was pleasant and not at all awkward. bgm later told sw that she had been really happy to meet us and that it had put her mind at rest. we also made notes afterwards and have shared them with our dcs when they have asked questions when early teens.
(they are still teens now).
so I would say helpful to both sides.
good luck x

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