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Adoption Blog: Familia Means Family

Same Birth Mother, Vastly Different Feelings About Adoption

My two children, adopted domestically as infants, have the same birth mother. We adopted Isabel when she was two months old. A year and a half later the agency called to tell us Noah, one month old at the time, had also been placed with them. When the biological sibling of a child adopted through them is placed with our agency, their policy is to call the family of the biological sibling first. When they did, we joyfully agreed to make him part of our family.

Both of my children's adoptions are closed. Their birthmother placed them with the agency after birth and did not leave any way to contact her. We have a little information that could help us find her, should our children one day choose to pursue it.
And that is where it gets interesting. We have talked to our children about adoption since they were very small, telling them how glad we are that we adopted them and how much we love the way our family came together. My daughter, who is now seven, started asking questions about her adoption by the time she was three. Since then, we have had many open conversations about adoption. Some of these conversations have been initiated by me, trying to make sure my daughter is learning all the age-appropriate information she needs to navigate this part of her story. Others have been initiated by her, asking questions, and pleading for me to tell her the story of her adoption again and again. Isabel is curious and inquisitive and open with her feelings of sadness and joy about her background.
My son, who is now five, is a different story. Maybe it is because he has grown up hearing his more outspoken sister asking questions, and has found the answers he seeks that way. Maybe he's more introverted and more reserved about his emotions. Whatever the case may be, Noah does not usually ask any questions and, in fact, appears uninterested when I start talking about adoption or his story. He seems content with the world as it is and does not usually bring up any concerns about how he came to this family.
I make sure Noah is around when we talk about adoption as a family, but I am also learning to take cues from him, so I don't overwhelm him with information he does not care to have right now. What concerns me is the future. I am fairly certain that my daughter, being who she is, will want to find her birth mother one day. She is a compassionate little soul who worries about her birth mother already, wants to know that she is OK, and is saddened to think her birth mother could be missing her. I think about what will happen if Isabel, with our blessing and our help, sets out to find S.? What if Noah does not care to meet her? How will we navigate this hurdle? How will the three of them?
I have no answers. These are just musings. There are still many years to come before this becomes a real concern, and it may never happen. Maybe neither of them will choose to search, or maybe both of them will. Either way we will deal with it as it comes. As I watch my children react to their adoption so vastly differently, I am learning how to navigate it as each needs me to. I think this will prepare us to face whatever tomorrow brings.

Related Posts on AdoptiveFamiliesCircle


HI Gaby, I think gender may play a role, too. My girls are far more talkative about adoption and every other emotional issue than my extroverted son. However, he will talk all day about the 49ers, soccer star Messi, the best way to cook eggs—anything and everything else…

By Sharon Van Epps on Thursday, February 28, 2013 at 9:34 pm.

Thank you, Sharon. I know what you mean!

By Gaby on Friday, March 01, 2013 at 12:35 am.

We have three adopted domestically, two of my children share a birth mother.  My oldest is not quite 4, so we have a way to go, but I do worry what if one wants to search and the other doesn’t, what then?  And will my oldest, who has a different birth mother, feel like the odd man out because he is not bio related?  We did not plan it, this is just the way our family came together.  I admire the way you have helped your daughter feel she can ask any question about adoption, and I hope I can do the same.

By jszmom on Wednesday, March 06, 2013 at 3:37 pm.

I’m always fascinated by posts such as yours - our daughter will be 4 next month, and so far has been completely uninterested in the books we’ve tried to share….while my son (who is our biological son and almost 9) is fascinated by the fact that his sister is adopted - so part of me is quite nervous over the fact that he is so inquisitive and I don’t want to force information onto her if she’s not ready.  We have had contact with some family members (although not bio-parents - she was removed from their custody early on and has no memory of any family but ours) and have access when needed….and my son just realized that one of his little friends (who we introduced him to) is actually his sister’s biological brother…knowing how much information at each age is such a tough path to navigate.  I think knowing how loved our children are, and that we’re here to support them regardless of their choices down the road or to answer questions as they’re ready, is one of the best gifts we can give them….even if they choose not to use that gift to search down the road!

By h4nutrition on Wednesday, March 06, 2013 at 5:28 pm.

Iszmom and h4nutrition, thank you for commenting! It is always nice to be reminded that our struggles are not unique to us and that other parents out there wonder the same things smile

By Gaby on Thursday, March 07, 2013 at 2:26 pm.

From my research, I’ve found that boys are not anywhere as interested in their adoption process. When my son was growing up there were several adopted children among his friends. The adoptees and their parents were caucasian. While the girls engaged with me, all the boys, and the ones who I met later while doing my research, were not interested in talking about their adoption. It was clear, someone had given birth to them, but their loyalty and love was for the mother who was raising them. I also interviewed the mothers; they all said they had started the conversation with their sons, but none wanted to know the woman who had given birth to them. These days they are in their late thirties and have children of their own: girls still talk about wanting to know more about their mother… boys are not.

By Catana on Friday, March 08, 2013 at 6:03 pm.

This is so intriguing! I have often wondered if this was at least partially related to gender as well. Very interesting!

By Debbye on Sunday, April 21, 2013 at 8:01 pm.

I am a birthmother who gave my newborn daughter in a closed adoption in 1964.  Gaby wrote:  “She is a compassionate little soul who worries about her birth mother already, wants to know that she is OK, and is saddened to think her birth mother could be missing her.”  She needs to be prepared to become an unwanted intrusion into her birthmother’s life, if she searches and finds her birthmother. That is what happened to me. My birth daughter illegally got her father to search the county archives where the adoption papers were filed, and she called several people and lied about who she was until she found me.  I did not want to be found, and the whole experience was very unpleasant for me, for her, and for my family who I foolishly told that the young woman (then in her mid-20s) had found me.  It is quite possible, and maybe even likely that Gaby’s daughter’s birthmother does not miss her birth children.  There are all kinds of very good reasons some birthmothers willingly give their babies for adoption:  Mental illness being a big one; no support network being another one; inability to make a living or hold a job; being in prison.  Just a few examples that might not be something Gaby’s adoptive daughter might discover.  I think there needs to be a clearing house - maybe there is one now?—where birthmothers and adoptees can contact and find out if their counterpart wishes to be contacted. This is the only humane and fair way to deal with closed adoptions, in my opinion.

By MsKitty on Friday, November 22, 2019 at 9:25 pm.

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