family after giving up baby for adoption — The Bump

family after giving up baby for adoption

Hey guys I was wondering for advice from someone who has gone through something similar, or a professional opinion.

A few years back, I found out that I was pregnant.  I was kind of on and off dating this guy that I didn't love and we had gone back and forth about what to do about the baby.  In the end, I decided to go through the process to give him up for adoption at birth (I myself am adopted, so it was a little bit easier for me mentally). I knew it was the best thing I could do for my child at the time and because I loved him so much I wanted to give him the benefit of a 2-parent, loving, secure family.  It was an open adoption, but besides pictures, I have not contacted his new family, nor have they contacted me.  Having had no contact with my birth family (ever), I felt that this was a sensible choice; I knew I was adopted as soon as I could talk, but have always felt like my "family" were the people who raised me.


Anyways, here is the new conundrum.  I'm married now to a wonderful man (who knows the whole story), and we're expecting our own LO in 3 more months.  How do I tell our child that he has a half-sibling? I'm torn between telling him early and having him grow up accepting the situation, or wait until he's older (and possible dealing with the consequences of hiding this from him).  DH believes that we shouldn't tell him at all, but because the adoption was "open", baby#1 can essentially contact us at any time, and that might be a shock to our LO. I know I have some time before it might be critical, but any suggestions on when or how to tell our child about his 1/2 brother?

Re: family after giving up baby for adoption

  • I would tell him, but not til he understands.  It could be very confusing to a little kid even when they are say 8 years old, that they have a 1/2 brother out there who they don't get to see.  Seems like a large concept to a little kid.
    7/18/12-1st RE appointment CD2 blood work taken. Told to move straight to IVF. Starting BC pills and FSH injections plus Lupron. Hopefully doing ET in September Off BCP March 2011 Started TTC July 2011 7 months TTC with no luck an then.... Diagnosed 2/24/12 with 2 Ovarian Cysts. 3/22/12-Lap to remove cysts, look for endo, and see if tubes are clear. 3/22/12-Diagnosed with Severe Endo(tubes are clear). 4/4/12-Post op OBGYN appointment. Told chances of conceiving naturally are very low, but told conceiving in the next few months is our best chance due to being cleaned out during Lap. Referred to a RE. RE said IVF is our only chance to get pregnant. Told only a 20% chance even with two put in. 9/5-Lupron 9/20 Stims(Menopur & Follistim) 9/30 Trigger time 10/2 ER 10/3 fert report-out of 7 eggs retrieved only 2 fertilized. Hello "Thing 1 and Thing 2!" Kinda sad there is none to freeze. Because only 2 we will have 2DT to get them back into a natural envionment 10/4 ET. Found out that only 1 divided. We love you "Thing 2." Thing 1 is now snuggled inside me and we are praying it will be our take home baby! **Did not even make it to my beta, the day before on 10/16/12 I got my F'in period** Such a stab in the heart. Nov 2012-Moving onto domestic newborn adoption! Can't wait for my take home baby. We will try IVF again after 1-2 years of a clear head. Need a break from infertility treatments/issues for my mental sanity! image
  • I am not a birth mom, nor an adoption professional, but I am a mom, and I will hopefully be an adoptive mom soon.

    I think age appropriate honesty is always a good policy with children. I would do the same thing that is done for adoptees. Let him know from the get go, that way it doesn't come off to him as being anything "weird,"or some shocking secret. If you have photos of the LO that you placed, show him when you are looking at pictures of grandparents, or cousins that might live far away. It doesn't really have to be more involved than that until he asks more. I know that placing a child is very painful, but it certainly isn't anything shameful, so I would not treat is as such. And maybe you might want to consider writing your LO's adoptive parents a letter, just to let them know that their son has a bio half sibling. That might be something that he would want to know about. There are quite a few other birth moms on this board, and their input might be really helpful. Good luck with whatever you decide!


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  • I agree with PP, I don't have any experience with this personally but I'd think being honest from the get-go in an age appropriate way would be the best path.  It's totally up to you and your DH as to what you think is best for your family, but I'd think being open from the beginning would be easier then if your child were to find out down the road and be shocked and feel hurt that they weren't told.

    Again though, whatever you and your DH feel is best for your family is what is right for you.  You are obviously very loving parents to be considering everyone's feelings like this in advance.

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  • I am a birthmom and my husband (then my boyfriend) and I placed our birthson in an open adoption when we were in high school - over 10 years ago. We married after college and now have a 1 year old daughter. We have an open adoption with our birthson with visits and have always planned on being honest with our children with who our birthson is, but I too have wondered how exactly to explain who our birthson is and the story of his adoption. I had fears that if I said to our daughter that we could not parent her brother years ago because we could not afford to give him a home, then if we ever mentioned not being able to afford something, our daughter would get scared that we would not be albe to afford to keep her and would be finding her a new home. 

    After receiving advice on here and discussing it with my husband, my husband and I decided to just keep it very simple and not get into the reasons for the adoption plan at all at first. So no talk about money until she can understand that better. And no explaining about us being so young. We plan on just simply saying "this is your brother" and "he grew in my belly just like you did". We plan on waiting for her questions before giving her anymore information than that. We will give her very simple explanations and not go into detail until she is much older. My nieces and nephews have grown up with visits with my birthson (their cousin) and they have never asked me questions or seemed confused. He is their cousin, he grew in my belly, he lives with his parents - no confusion or complexity in their eyes. I am hoping it will be the same with my daughter.

    We have had a couple visits with my birthson since my DD was born and I refer to my birthson as her brother. I also have a picture of him in her room and I point to it and say "who is that?" and then tell her "That's your brother _____".  I also have included him on her family tree in her baby books and his pictures are in there too. I don't want there to be a moment when she "discovered" the truth. I want her to grow up with the truth. Plus, my birthson is old enough to understand a good bit and he likes that she is his biological sister, I would never ask him to keep that a secret from her or make him feel in any way that he is something I am ashamed of or want to keep a secret. I don't want to cloud their relationship with secrecy. 

    Sorry for the long novel, but that's our plan and thoughts on it. Hope that helps. Best wishes to you with finding something that works for your family.  

    Congrats on your LO btw! 

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  • I've only met my biological father once and I didn't know he existed until I was 10. My step father adopted me when I was 2 and as a smart child I figured out he wasn't my biological father and had to grill my mom for answers. Personally that REALLY hurt me that they didn't tell me. I think as long as you tell your child and don't let them find out on their own you will be okay. So whenever the time is right for that. I think you will just have to wait and see how mature they are. It's different for everyone. Good luck!!
  • I agree with Ginny 100% (though I'm an AP, not a BP). IMO this relationship should be something organic as part of your new child's life. Trust me, there won't be any deep conversations about this for years--DD is almost 3 and is just now realizing she has a BM, but doesn't get the relationship yet (she called her a babysitter yesterday). As your child gets older, you can get more into the nuances of making an adoption plan for your first child. For now it just needs to be that he has an older sibling.

    You may even want to read up or contact an adoption counselor to discuss how to talk about this with your LO.

    GL and congrats on the new baby.

  • Welcome and congratulations on your new baby :)

     I agree w/Dr L about it being an organic relationship.  What I think you need to steer clear of is making it a big announcement when you think he is old enough to understand.   In the adoption world (from AP perspectives), keeping secrets is thought to lead to lack of trust. 

    Perhaps if you familiarize yourself (even here) about how APs talk about birth moms, you can use some of the language in reverse.  I also recommend Todd Parr's book on families (it's a kids book w/big bright pics that they love!).  It talks about how families can look different.... I think that's the point in talking about it... to make it normal. 


    image Best friends and sisters... 24 months and 16 months
  • *Lurker de-lurking.*  I lurk because I didn't meet my dad until I was 25.  I'm currently carrying a baby who will have donor-dad.  These kinds of relationships and how we deal with them are intensely important to me. 

    My story is that I always knew I had 9 half siblings and a dad that never contacted me.  I was always curious, my mom always told me what she could in a very positive way, but we never reached out to them and they never reached out to us.  It made me feel mysterious, but I was also very, very glad to know these things.  There were more circumstances surrounding my birth and our leaving my dad that I learned later, when I was 25.  

     My vote is for letting the child know in an even and easy, age-appropriate way from the very beginning.  

    2-4 year olds will ask this sort of question, and I believe that answering honestly, "You have a brother that has another mom and dad," is better than lying. 

    Such as:

    "Why doesn't he live with us?"

    "He has his own mommy and daddy."

    "Can I see him?"

    "Not now, maybe when you're older . . ."

     These are gradual, parental answers.  Better to have him always be in the know.

    Good luck and way to be brave!

    37, married to my favorite person in the world, DW! One darling surfer-girl (12) and one darling, sweet boy born 3/16/13.

    5/2013 Started TTC #3, DW's turn: 5/2013: Diagnostics (shg) and surgery (polyp rem.) for best chances. July-Oct: IUI # 1-4, medicated, monitored, triggered.  All BFN. IVF in Jan May. Sheesh. Whoop! IVF#1 cycle started 4/2/14. 5/1: 19 eggs retrieved, 8 matured, ICSI'd.  4 fertilized.   Only 2 to transfer/freeze stage. 5/6: Two embryos transferred. 5/15: Beta #1 9dp5dt is 134! BFP! 5/19: Beta #2 13dp5dt is 672! B'erFP! 5/21: Beta #3 15dp5dt is 1853.  Yay!

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    "Things separate from their stories have no meaning. They are only shapes. Of a certain size and color. A certain weight. When their meaning has become lost to us they no longer have even a name. The story on the other hand can never be lost from its place in the world for it is that place.” ― Cormac McCarthy, The Crossing

  • I agree, just talk about it.  You don't want to have to hide your updates and keep this huge dark secret.  My SIL had a son she made an adoption plan for, and it was closed.  Well 25 years later he found her.  She has a 12 yo daughter with her husband and she was never told about him.  I still don't know if she's been told yet, but I think it's going to be harder and harder for them to tell her the longer they wait.  She's a bit dramatic too, so I think this is going to be a huge shock, especially now that SIL has contact with her bio-son.

    TTC since May 2006. After 3 failed Clomid cycles, 2 failed Injectibles/IUIs, 2 failed IVFs and 1 failed FET, we moved on to adoption! 


    Last ditch FET resulted in BFP, and identical twin girls!

  • To provide a different perspective - I found out I had a half sister when I was 24. I (and my younger brother) completely understood our mother's reason for not telling us sooner - there was no drama or resentment towards her for keeping the secret. 

    By time my mom told my us, they had already made contact. I've never really thought about this before... but I don't know that I would have wanted to have known about my sister until it was guaranteed I could actually meet her, if that makes sense. Just knowing she was out there somewhere and I may or may not ever get to meet her, I think would have been unsettling and confusing... and potentially disappointing if it turned out we never did get to meet her. 




    Me-37, DH-38
    Married in 2006, TTC #1 since Jan 2012

    Baby Boy born June 1, 2015

    He settles her in her home as a happy mother of children, praise the Lord! (Psalms 113:9)
    And the peace of God, which surpasses all understand, will guard your heart and mind in Jesus Christ (Philippians 4:7)

  • I wish my mom had told me more about my brother. I think I found out when I was in my early teens, and it was part of a talk on birth control. It was brought up like OH LOOK HOW FERTILE I WAS SO YOU BETTER USE BC, ps you have a brother out there somewhere. It's a totally closed adoption and though we have tried to find him we have not been able to.

    Congrats on your newest baby too! :)

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  • I'm adopted. My biological mother and father were very young and gave me up at birth. Fast forward a lifetime, they both married other people and went on to have children. 

    I had an open adoption...before the Internet, my mom sent pictures and letters to the state of Montana and they sent them to my biological mother. 

    My biological mother explained to her daughter that I was a 'special friend' until she was 14. She kept my pictures up in the house...and so I was always there.

    My biological father also waited until his daughter was 14 to tell her about me at all, he didnt have pictures or anything...though my biological mother kept him informed of what was going on with me. His son just found out about me this summer, he's in 3rd grade.

    For my mothers daughter, didn't meet until October 2011 when we had to bury our mother...when she (the daughter) was 21...we had no need for each other before that. My fathers daughter, was 14 when she found out about me and 14 when she met me, at the same time her father met me...almost 4 years ago. Poor baby was so uncomfortable. 

    I can't speak for them...but while I am their sister...I'm not. And I'm very careful to not push myself into their lives. I know that my half-sisters were not happy to find about me.

    I've rambled on enough now, and I didn't answer your question. I don't know what's best...despite the biological link, I'm not their sister. Again, my adoption was open and my biological parents were/are thrilled to have any kind of relationship with me. And my adoptive parents encouraged me form those relationships because I felt I needed them. I don't know the details of your adoption...or the odds of the child you had meeting the one your having. 

    Much like your decision to give your son up for adoption, you'll know in your heart what's best. :-)  

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