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Initial meeting with birth parents

(25 Posts)
LS2142 Sat 02-Jul-16 11:52:49

Has anyone experienced meeting with the birth parents prior to the adoption? Was it a good or bad experience? Would you recommend it? If the option arose I would like to think I could meet with them and potentially get some useful information that I could pass on the child when older. However I am also guessing most birth parents aren't happy their child has been taken away and therefore if things turned nasty, they then know what we look like! I'm confused!

tybalt22 Sat 02-Jul-16 12:03:07

We have been told we must meet her, I have read all about her and have great empathy for her life experiences, she has met her other children's APs and apparently she is pleasant. I'd like to be able to tell my son with all honesty that she is a nice person who didn't know how to be a safe and loving parent but she wanted to. I expect I'll be very nervous but everyone we have spoken with has told us it's a positive thing .

OlennasWimple Sat 02-Jul-16 15:08:52

We met BM after placement and before the AO. It was a very positive experience and definitely something is recommend if at all possible. I actually like BM, and it makes writing letters easier as we know who they are going to. We have a photo of us with BM that I think will be important to DD in the future.

OlennasWimple Sat 02-Jul-16 15:09:50

Meant to say we didn't meet BF, as it wasn't safe to do so, either at the time and possibly in the future

PoppyStellar Sat 02-Jul-16 16:48:29

I also met BM, similar circumstances to Olenna. Like you I was very anxious. It was a very positive experience as I got to see BM as a real person and learnt something of her life and the difficulties she'd gone through. I could see how vulnerable she was and how much love she had for DD even though she couldn't look after her. That was both positive and negative. I came away from the meeting wanting to look after both her and DD.

I think ultimately, for DD, I did absolutely the right thing for her by meeting BM and getting a little bit of insight and understanding into her life and history.

On a purely personal and very selfish note I would be lying if I said I had no reservations about having met her. I feel like I have lost the anonymity of adoption by meeting her (I haven't yet unpicked why this bothers me but I just know it does), plus whilst I have met her, and liked her, and feel hugely empathetic to her circumstances, there is another selfish part of me that hates the fact she seemed so nice and yet did such damage to my DD by the crappy choices she made. I have to say I tend only to have these thoughts when I am really struggling. I am very aware that these thoughts aren't very nice or rational. I think what I am trying to say is that the experience of meeting BM was useful and positive in lots of ways but I wasn't prepared for the fact it would still have an impact on me several years after the adoption (and usually at my lowest times).

Having said all that I think I would still recommend doing it. The benefits for DD are / will be enormous. She has part of her story which is that BM wanted to meet me which I think says something positive about BM.

On a practical note, after the meeting I came home and wrote a letter to my DD (hadn't even met her at this point) but I felt that I wanted to get down on paper the immediate thoughts and feelings I had after that meeting. I am really glad I did this, and have got it in DDs later life box.

MintyLizzy9 Sat 02-Jul-16 19:59:36

I wanted to meet and so did she, I sent SW some questions in advance so that she would have time to think about them, nothing awful just things like any family traditions, anything you want DS to know etc. Unfortunatly she didn't feel able to turn up on the day but did later answer all the questions via SW.

I'm still really disappointed that we didn't get to meet, I would have liked to have been able to tell DS about it when he was older.

If it's safe to do so and both parties are willing to do it then I think it can be really beneficial.

I was so anxious about meeting her so can't imagine how she felt, I'm sure I would have spent most of the meeting crying or trying to hold back the tears. The information and detail she provided will I'm sure mean a lot to DS when he's old enough to understand, all the SS reports in the world can't get across just how much birth mum loved him but those few paragraphs she sent back speak volumes.

Italiangreyhound Sun 03-Jul-16 03:31:52

LS good luck.

And to you too tybalt22.

OlennasWimple, Poppy and Minty you all sound super brave and caring.

We wanted to meet birth parents and were told this may happen after our son was placed with us (and possibly after adoption order too) but were not able to as they were not up to it.

I am not sure how I would have felt about meeting them before-hand. I kind of feel meeting them after everything is settled is best for the adopter, you can talk about the child, you have that in common, you can put fears to rest and reassure how well the child is doing etc. I just feel it makes sense. But I expect we would have said yes either way.

Call me daft but I did think of wearing a wig and very different clothes/make up as a way to disguise myself!

I've heard of families where maybe the adoptive dad is very 'noticeable' and he chose not to meet birth parents.

If it was just birth mum I would be happy to meet her alone but expect DH would want to be there.

I am slightly sad she/they won't meet us but also quite relieved, maybe, or maybe just accepting. We are just ready to do whatever is needed.

The idea of a photo with them is very appealing, something tangible to show our son but it is not to be.

(and he might ask why I was wearing a wig in the photo!)

Good luck, all. thanks

Kr1stina Sun 03-Jul-16 05:19:50

I met the birth mum of one of my children several times and overall it was very positive . It wasn't easy , she often found it hard to stick to the boundaries that had been agreed. But I'm glad that I did it- it helped me understand her better and something of what my child had been through.

I also met her sister who came to several meetings - she was better than the Sw at keeping Bm calm and reasonable .

Security wasn't an issue , she knew our names and address and I knew hers. She never abused this in any way .

I didn't meet BF as he was a security risk ( they were no longer together or even in contact ) .

I think everyone find these meetings very hard but I don't know anyone who wishes they hadn't done it

LS2142 Sun 03-Jul-16 12:08:21

Thank you for all your replies x

It sounds like you all had positive experiences with meeting the BM and I hope the info that you got is useful when your kids get older.

PoppySteller - you have put exactly what I am thinking about losing the anonymity of adoption. I also struggle with what I actually will think of her (if this was the case) how a mother could make such poor choices over the life of her child. But I need to put that aside and think what's best for the child, but possibly not for me.

Italiangreyhound I said exactly the same thing about dying my hair and wearing clothes that might disguise me. I think it might be amicable now but what if they change their thoughts in the future....they know what we look like!

OlennasWimple Sun 03-Jul-16 12:46:38

I used a fake name when I signed the visitors book at the SS offices - no one had thought before that putting my real name (along with who I was going to visit) in a book that the BM would also sign might be a risk confused hmm

But I don't think I am so memorable or have distinguishing features such that I could be tracked down on description alone.

I also found it helpful meeting after placement. My SW said this was their standard practice, as it meant that we were able to reassure BM that DC was settling in well, and it also gave us something to talk about. I don't think I would have wanted to do it before placement

OlennasWimple Sun 03-Jul-16 12:48:08

And Italian you made me smile, imagining your DS puzzled at the photo: "mummy, why is your hair funny?" confused

grin

PoppyStellar Sun 03-Jul-16 13:29:59

YY to the not signing the visitor book with your real name - I'd forgotten about that! And the thought about a wig and a disguise more than crossed my mind!! I have been told I am quite 'memorable' (think that's a euphemism for having slightly unusual dress sense) so I made a deliberate attempt to be very conservatively dressed so as not to be memorable. However, please don't let all this talk of subterfuge put you off meeting BM if it's a possibility. It's definitelyworthwhile.

I worried about meeting some scary, angry, vitriolic person who thought the whole world was conspiring against them (think I was anticipating a stereotypical Jeremy Kyle type guest) the reality was a very vulnerable, very real young woman who knew she couldn't look after DD and wanted to know DD would be okay. I came away feeling very humbled, very sad, very glad I was going to be DDs mum and with an overwhelming sense of 'there but for the grace of God...' I remember thinking to myself if I'd made different choices as a young woman and not had the support I had, it could very easily have been me sat there as BM.

HaveAWeeNap Sun 03-Jul-16 23:19:46

Our DS's birth dad agreed to meet us and then changed his mind.
Birth mother had a court order which prevented contact, even in a contact Centre, from him being six months of age. She wasn't asked to meet with us.
Our DS is three now and has been placed with us for over a year.
Neither of his biological parents have signed letter box agreements, so I currently send letters 'into the void'

It's so so sad.
I don't know how I will explain this to him when he is old enough to understand. I expect I will focus on the numerous court cases they fought at and tell him they loved and fought for him; and that when they lost it was too painful for them to have any sort of contact.

anxious123 Fri 08-Jul-16 22:16:33

Flip side of the coin here. I met my son's adoptive mum after he was placed with her and before the A O. I was terrified and she was nervous but we muddled through it under the watchful eyes of social workers who were nothing but supportive to us both.

I look back on that meeting and know that I made the right choice to place him for adoption and that his social worker picked the right family.

It was hard to start with but it got easier, she got to ask questions about me as a child - hobbies etc, and I got a glimpse into my son's life and future - in general terms about how they'd taken him swimming etc.

We also had a photo taken for him to see when he's older if he wishes.

Obviously I don't know your circumstances but as a birth mum it only helped solidify things in my mind, and it has helped with letterbox as well.

PoppyStellar Fri 08-Jul-16 23:17:02

Thank you anxious. I often think about my meeting with BM. It is really nice to hear about the experience from a birth mother's point of view. It must have been a very difficult thing to go through for you. I hope that 'my' BM feels our experience was equally productive.

CuntyPotato Sun 10-Jul-16 22:23:18

We met BM during introductions and it was a positive if very emotional experience. We were willing to meet BF too but he declined.

Our SW managed it well with timing entrances/exits from the building, and we made sure we parked a walk away so that we couldn't be followed. I don't think BM would have done this but am glad we took care as it was one less thing to worry about.

OurMiracle1106 Thu 14-Jul-16 18:03:07

I'm a birth mum and for me I felt I needed to meet the adoptive parents. For me agreeing to the adoption order without having met them would be like dropping a child to nurses knowing it has a good ofsted but never having seen it or met the staff. Sure the checks had been done but I needed to see for myself they loved our son.

To some people that may make no sense but it was part of acceptance for me

Kr1stina Thu 14-Jul-16 18:13:34

That's makes perfect sense to me, miracle.

tinks269 Tue 19-Jul-16 22:43:17

We met birth mum during introductions. It was very emotional and we took an hour or so out of the day afterwards just to sit and think about everything. Out of the whole adoption experience to date it is when I have been the most nervous (before meeting our son there was excitement mixed in as well- for this meeting I could only imagine how she must have been feeling and that made me more anxious for it to go ok).
Having said that I am so glad we did meet. There are things about our son I know he gets from her and although we have not pointed these out to him yet, we will. There are certain times I look at him and can see her in him and I look forward to telling him that when he is older and finding it hard to picture her face.
We were able to see how much she loved him, again how important will that be to tell him?
We were also able to tell from some of her answers that she does not understand the effect that her actions have had on him or see how her parenting may have been dangerous. Although not something to necessarily share with our son it allowed us a bit of reassurance that what was happening was the right thing for him.
As far as anonymity is concerned we were asked what we would like to be called, we never had to sign in and the first question was aimed at us and just asked us to say a bit about ourselves. This allowed us the opportunity to give an answer which although not untrue gave us the ability to be a bit hazy.

jingscrivenshelpmaboab Tue 19-Jul-16 23:14:18

Just echoing several of tinks' points - we found it so useful to meet BM as there was so much that we will be able to tell DS, and we were able to reassure him that she was okay, as he was worried about her sad. It was also useful to see for ourselves that she wasn't able to put him first, and that he was in the right place with us.

BoxofSnails Mon 25-Jul-16 10:53:08

Sorry this is a bit late. I'm a birth mum and would have loved to have met DD's adoptive parents. They refused, on the grounds of being recognisable. I asked if we could have the conversation we would have had via anonymous letter - they also refused. At my worst times I am very uneasy about what they might tell her and how she might see things as an adult.

BoxofSnails Mon 25-Jul-16 10:54:43

Posted too soon - I hope it helps you and also them/her, as you can't ignore that adoption is a triangle - try and make it a line and the spiky corner explodes, somehow, sometime.

Kr1stina Mon 25-Jul-16 11:09:52

I can see why that might make you uneasy - they sound rather difficult people :-(

blueskywithclouds Mon 01-Aug-16 19:32:43

I am meeting birth parents in a few weeks. I am doing it for the sake of my daughter and for their sake too. I don't think I am a bad person for not particularly wanting to do it, it's terrifying me. It's helpful to read that so many people have found it useful.
I am struggling with questions to ask though. I'm not sure why, a mental block? The only question I have is why they gave my daughter her name.
What questions did you all ask?

Italiangreyhound Tue 02-Aug-16 00:26:04

Good luck to all. It is humbling to hear amazing birth parent and adoptive parent stories. Xxxx

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