A birth mother who has placed her child in an open adoption faces problems that are unique to her situation. Whether she learns about her child through letters and pictures or has direct contact with his adopters, her position is a precarious one. Though mothers involved in open adoptions may find comfort in knowing that their children are alive and well, they are put in the conflicted position of being a “special friend” or “extended family member” to their own children. They can watch, but not interfere in, the raising of their children by others.
The time just before and immediately after a visit with their children can be particularly difficult. As a friend, you can help by acknowledging the birth mother’s grief and giving her non-judgmental space in which to talk about her feelings. Encourage her to seek a counseling from a mental health professional, who is experienced in post-adoption grief, should she find her feelings especially difficult to cope with.
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|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|