Adoptation

January 5, 2010

Yours, Mine, Ours

Filed under: Adoption, Birth mother, Infertility, Paperwork — adoptation @ 9:08 pm

In short order, this blog has gotten a decent readership—which is a pleasant surprise, considering that I wasn’t entirely clear to whom I was writing when I fired this up.

I certainly don’t know as much about adoption as a lot of my fellow adoption bloggers do. My wife and I are still fairly new in this world—we begin the paperwork and initial preparations during our final round of fertility treatments, which isn’t exactly recommended, but it seemed like the right thing to do at the time. Then the paperwork and agency stuff and initial match all happened so quickly…well, I feel like we’re simultaneously taking our hesitant first steps and barreling down the highway at 90 miles an hour.

Which brings me to an interesting note I received from one of this blog’s readers. She clearly sensed my rookie-dom here and offered an observation that had never occurred to me: that some might object to my use of the phrase “our birthmother” and other possessive-pronoun phrases (she also sent this link).

I definitely see the point here…but I kind of don’t know how else to refer to this woman (one of the most cosmically generous I’ve ever know, btw…). In other instances, the use of “our” or “my” doesn’t indicate any sort of entitled feeling ownership: you’d say, “my boss” or “our Senator” without it being about possession. They’re just people who are connected to us, and the possessive indicates that there is a relationship…right?

Am I just being naive here? We’re definitely developing genuine feelings for our the birthmother, and not just viewing her as a holding company for the baby we’re hoping to adopt. But I also recognize that this is a transactional relationship…which almost all relationships are, but this one perhaps more tangibly so. I’ll have to think on a better way to refer to her (maybe just something like: M), but this is a good reminder that both my wife and I will need to look even more deeply at the lifelong relationship we’re entering into…not just with the child, but with the baby’s biological mother.

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7 Comments »

  1. Maybe try “this expectant mother.”

    That’s what she is–an expectant mother.

    Good luck.

    Comment by paragraphein — January 5, 2010 @ 11:57 pm

  2. You were clearly stating your relationship with the birthmother. Also, from what I can tell this is a personal blog. Make this experience yours, ours, or whatever. 🙂

    Comment by autonomousblogger — January 6, 2010 @ 12:35 am

  3. One big difference from the “our Senator” example is that she will never be *your* birthmother. If the adoption happens, she will be your child’s birthmother. You will have a relationship with her, but not that particular, unique relationship.

    Personally, I think there are a lot of ways you could refer to her that convey your excitement, but also better respect her as a peer–and as a woman who has not yet placed her child. Call her an expectant mom, or the expectant mom you’re matched with. You could use an initial or make up a first name to use on the blog.

    It may seem nitpicky, or like it’s just a word. But, as you said in your final paragraph, being deliberate and considerate with our language is great entry point to thinking more about the relationship itself.

    Welcome to the world of adoption! There’s always something new to mull over. 🙂

    Comment by Heather — January 6, 2010 @ 4:00 am

    • That’s an excellent point. We’ve clearly got some more mental (re)adjustments to make between now and placement!

      Comment by adoptation — January 6, 2010 @ 10:38 am

  4. I’m glad you’re willing to look at things and consider other viewpoints. there are so many wonderful people to learn from out there, from all sides of adoption.

    Comment by M. — January 6, 2010 @ 10:35 am

  5. I refer to my mom as “my” mom, and I don’t possess her. I also refer to my mailman as “my” mailman, etc… (And while I am clearly using “mailman” as an example, someone is now angry with me for ostensibly equating a birthmother with a mailman when that is in no way what I was doing…)

    I think it is great that you are willing to consider feedback and all viewpoints. You may find that you get a good bit of unsolicited advice here, some of it good and some of it not. In the end though it’s your place here, it is almost impossible to make everyone happy. Your respectful and kind spirit is evident, for what it is worth.

    Comment by kasey — January 6, 2010 @ 11:32 am

    • Thanks kasey! I’m doing my level best to wrap my head around each bit of this as it unfolds (sometimes at lightning speed…)

      Comment by adoptation — January 6, 2010 @ 11:41 am


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