Ask AF: Two Moms, Two Roles

What should a parent do when a birth parent uses the word mommy or daddy to describe themselves? AF's expert explains.

Q: Our 12-year-old daughter’s birth mother has always signed her cards with her first name – until this past Christmas, when she signed “from Mommy.” It bothered me. Am I overreacting?


A: It’s great that you have maintained a close relationship with your daughter’s birth mother over 12 years. You note that this is the first year she signed her card “Mommy” – it’s not unreasonable that you’d be upset. Go ahead and tell the birth mother that you want her to sign cards with her first name in the future.

That being said, its an understandable “mistake.” I’m sure your daughter’s birth mother understands that you are the mom, but she probably considers herself a mom, too. And, in fact, she is. Adopted children have two sets of parents, whether or not they have contact with birth parents. Adoption professionals and adoptive parents are always careful to refer to the birth mother by her first name or as “your birth mother,” but kids figure out that they have another “mom.” They aren’t confused by this reality, nor does it diminish your role as mom. Each of you plays a different role in your daughter’s life.


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