The Most Common Characteristics Shared by Successful Adoptive Parents, pg 11

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11. They Learn to Understand, Appreciate and Respect Birthparents:

It is important that you develop a relationship of trust with and mutual respect with "Your Birthmother." If you identify yourself well for her and get the maximum exposure possible for your adoption profile, she will find you when the time is right.

Although there are a few limited exceptions, in general, most birthmothers who are facing an adoption situation are wonderful individuals that are in the process of facing and working through the natural consequences of some unfortunate choices they have made. Many of them have not come from outstanding or even supportive family environments, and are doing a pretty good job of working things out with the limited experience and resources they have at their disposal. Just like you, most of them have never been through an experience quite like this before in their lives, and unlike you, they hope they will never have to again.

You will soon find out that birthparents are a lot like you, with many of the same basic goals, dreams, fears and desires that you have in your life. One of the most valuable opportunities you will have as part of the adoption process will be to act as an example, and even a mentor to birthmothers, and perhaps even to birthfathers. Even though many of these birthparents may never provide you with a child to adopt, they will provide you with communication skills, valuable experiences and input into how the adoption process works in general, and how it can specifically work for you. In turn, you will provide them with encouragement and help in following through with their adoption plan.

You will also find out that birthparents are real people with real needs and real feelings, just like you and I. You will share important goals with them and exchange priceless gifts with them in ways that you may never share again in your life. If you are able to recognize birthparents as something more than just a source of a child that must be dealt with as quickly as possible, then you will end up being the biggest beneficiary of these valuable relationships. Birthparents need to be considered to be worthy of your time, concern, love and respect, just as you will want to be of theirs.

One of the greatest lessons I learned from my grandfather was that we should treat people with dignity and respect, not because of who they are, but because of who we are. In the future when you look back on your adoption experience, I suspect you will want to know in your heart that you were honest with your birthmothers, and that you loved your children enough to treat their mothers with dignity, love and respect, not because you were required to, but because the person that you are inside would not allow you to do otherwise.

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