This year Placement from the Heart, our Birth Parent Support Group, collected and donated toys to birth families the week before Christmas. I have worked with so many deserving birth parents over the years, but staying in touch is always a challenge. As time moves on, lives change, people lose touch. I started with phone calls and was pleased that some families had in fact kept the same number. A few parents had stayed in touch with the attorney who placed their child and I was able to get their information that way. I even reconnected with a few on Facebook.
Encouraged and feeling a bit like Santa, I took off with a car full of toys. As luck would have it, my visits lined up perfectly from one end of I-4 to the other. As I prepared for my trip, I anticipated that these families would appreciate the gifts. 2010 has been a challenging year financially for many of us and I felt that these gifts would certainly relieve some of that stress. I even thought that these folks would value the effort that the Support Group was making to deliver toys this close to Christmas. What I did not anticipate was the overwhelming pride and joy these women felt. They shared with me every single detail, picture and little tidbit about the children that they placed that the adoptive parents have sent them.
One birth mom was in a shelter, getting her life back on track, and had to meet me in front of a grocery store to protect the anonymity of her home. She must have showed me 50 pictures! She had pool pictures, birthday pictures and family pictures. In these pictures she saw her child smiling and being loved. She told me that she knows she did the right thing by making the adoption plan and every time she gets pictures and letters her positive feelings are reinforced. I met another birth mom at her fast food restaurant. She was able to take a quick break and “shop” in my trunk while she filled me in on the latest details of the little girl she placed. This birth mother’s face lit up when she told me how smart her daughter is and the things that she and her brother do with the adoptive parents. She knew the foods that her daughter likes, that she can write her name and that she likes to sing. I was struck by how similar these conversations were to the ones I have with adoptive parents. They too can not wait to share pictures and tell me about all of “the firsts” their children are accomplishing.
As I drove home that evening, a bit tired, but very happy, I realized that some adoptive parents may not know how important the pictures and letters that they send really are. Even if your birth parents do not respond to your efforts, they appreciate everything you do. Sometimes, for a myriad of emotional reasons, they cannot yet bring themselves to write back. By sharing just a little bit of your child with their birth parents you have the opportunity to honor and bring peace to these amazing people.