Adoption STAR Associate Director Michael Hill shares a personal story that touches on a variety of issues, including open adoption and Birth Mother’s Day.
Adoption STAR hosts an Annual Birth Mother’s Day Celebration and Luncheon, and the entire community is invited to attend this important event where we celebrate Birth Mother’s Day with those women who made the brave decision to make an adoption plan for their child. If you’d like to attend, please RSVP to Birth Parent Department Supervisor Sue Shaw at 716-639-3900.
My workday had come to an end, and I was off to pick up my son Elijah from his pre-kindergarten program. As I entered the classroom, Elijah ran over to me, gave me a big hug, and went back to the table to pack up the arts and crafts supplies he was using to create his latest masterpiece.
While he was in the midst of this cleanup, Elijah’s teacher came over to me and said the following, “We’re going to be making some items for Mother’s Day over the course of the next few weeks. Is there someone special that Elijah can make these gifts for?”
As a result of some conversation with us as the beginning of the school year, Elijah’s teacher knows that he’s adopted. I was actually quite touched by her sensitive approach to this issue, and incredibly appreciative of her question. As an adoptive parent, I think it’s fairly common to have concerns regarding family-focused, school based projects in that you don’t want them to result in your child feeling unsettled or confused in any way.
I looked at Elijah’s teacher and said, “first and foremost, thank you so much for asking this question. I truly appreciate it. We have a very open adoption with Elijah’s mother. We usually see her at least once every three to four months. As a matter of fact, our adoption agency runs a Birth Mother’s Day celebration every year. It’s the Saturday before Mother’s Day. If we don’t see her beforehand, we’ll certainly see her at that event, so Elijah will be able to give all the items he’s made directly to her. Also, just so you’re aware, Elijah refers to her both as ‘Mom’ and as ‘Jen,’ so he may want to write one, the other, or both on any gifts that he’ll be making for her.”
I don’t know if my son’s teacher truly grasped how comforted I felt in being able to explain this part of Elijah’s history to her, but that’s the best way to describe what I was feeling. Knowing that she was fully “in the loop” helped give me a level of assurance that Elijah will be supported and understood when it comes time for him to make his Mother’s Day gifts.
In addition, it continues to give me great satisfaction to know that open adoption has enabled our son to maintain a connection to his biological family that affords us (and them) such incredible opportunities and experiences, including the ability to have Elijah hand deliver Mother’s Day gifts to, as his teacher put it, “someone special” – his mother.