Q: My husband and I have a friendly relationship with the birth mother of our 3-year-old daughter. We talk on the phone, exchange letters regularly, and visit a few times a year. How and when should we introduce the concept of birth mother to our daughter? Although we talk to her about adoption, she doesn’t seem very interested. My husband and I have a friendly relationship with our daughter’s birth mother, but our daughter doesn’t know how they are related. How do we introduce the concept of birth parents?
I also wonder if we should be pursuing this friendship, or allowing our daughter to decide for herself when she is old enough to do so.
A: Your questions go to the heart of how to build an open adoption relationship. As you tell your daughter the story of how she joined your family and in whose body she grew, you can say, And that woman was [name]. She’ll understand the relationship when she can comprehend reproduction and birth, at about age 4. Children show varying degrees of interest in their adoption. The fact that your daughter doesn’t ask questions doesn’t mean she’s not interested.
The relationship you are forging with the birth mother is your relationship, and it is independent of the relationship your daughter may decide to build. If she chooses to establish such a relationship, she will have yours to build on.