Psychotherapy and Training Collective of New York

My Daughter's Birthmother-My Relative

By Phyllis Lowinger, LCSW

How do adoptive parents feel about their children's birth parents as their children grow from babies into teenagers into adults? How do children brought up with the knowledge of their birth parents feel as they reach their teenage years? Recently a friend of mine called to ask if I had a minute as she had just written piece about her daughter's birth mother. I was brought to tears as I listened to what she had written. With permission from Phyllis and her daughter we have reprinted her thoughts.

    Dawn Smith Pliner

Friends in Adoption My daughter has a picture of her birthmother that she was given at the age of nine. She carries a copy of this picture in her wallet and has taken her other copy and put it in a magnetic frame on our refrigerator door. Next to her birthmother's picture on the refrigerator she has placed a picture of the two of us with our arms around each other with a magnet between the two pictures that says, "Have I told you today that I love you?"

I like my daughter's birthmother, I always have. Even though we have never met I liked what I was told about her. I admired her for her courage to deal with such a major decision at such an early age. When my daughter was four, through an intermediary her birthmother requested a picture of her. I asked for a picture of my daughter's birthmother and expressed a desire to find out more about who she was: her desires, interests, and talents. Finding out this information made me like her more and feel closer to her.

The dictionary defines the word "relative" as "related each to the other; dependent upon; having to do with, pertinent, relevant, a person connected by blood or marriage, kinship." We're not related by blood or marriage but like kinship our relationship is ever so connected. For without my daughter's birthmother my daughter would not be the person she is.

I like who my daughter is. I think I'll get another magnet like the first and place it between a picture of my daughter and her birthmother that says, "Have I told you today that I love you?"

Phyllis Lowinger is a clinical social worker in private practice for over 25 years. She specializes in infertility, adoption and third party reproduction. 49 West 86 Street New York, NY 10024 (212) 666-3400