A woman came to my house and gave me her three‑day‑old baby. My husband and I accepted the baby with high hopes, because until then we had not been able to have any biological children. Six months later, I became pregnant and was very happy… but when our daughter was born, my in‑laws began to play favorites between our daughters, and that made my husband and me argue a lot.
Finally I got a divorce. Now I live with the fear that my adopted daughter will find out the truth: that her real mother rejected her and gave her away because she was the product of an adulterous relationship.
We are glad that you have asked our advice because your adopted daughter’s future emotional well‑being may be affected by how you handle this situation. Your fear is that she will find out that her mother gave her up because she was the unplanned result of an adulterous relationship.
The first thing we would ask you to do is to reconsider the language you use in thinking about and in telling your daughter’s story. Instead of thinking and saying that her mother rejected her, it would be far better (and much more kind) to say that her birth mother wanted her to have a loving home with a mother and a father who were married to each other, and the birth mother could not provide that kind of home for her. So the birth mother chose to give her a better life by placing her with your family.
Most women come to love the child that grows within them, and unless you know differently, it is best to assume that this birth mother loved and cared about her child and wanted the best for her. The fact that the child was conceived in an adulterous relationship does not have anything to do with whether the birth mother cared about her baby. Yes, she did want to hide her sin, but she most likely also wanted a good life for her little one.
The next thing that we advise you to do right away is to tell your daughter the story of how she came to be in your family. You wanted a baby very badly, and you had a home and family to offer. The birth mother saw that you could give her child a home with a mommy and a daddy, so she decided that your daughter could have a better life with you. When you tell this story, do it in the same tone and manner that you would talk about anything else. Don’t say that it is something very important or that it is a secret. Just tell the story as if you were telling her the story of Cinderella. It is important to tell her the story over and over as time passes so that it becomes something that she has always known.
We have an adopted son who came to us when he was six months old. When we read him bedtime stories, we also told him the story of how his birth mother loved him so much that she made the very hard decision to let us adopt him. We showed him pictures of the day we picked him up. We talked to him about how his birth mother probably missed him very much, but she made the right decision because she loved him. Our son has never had one minute of concern over the fact that he was adopted, nor has he asked questions about why his birth mother couldn’t keep him. He is twenty-seven years old now, and he hasn’t shown any interest in meeting his birth family.
Lastly, we encourage you to pray and ask God to give you the wisdom you need to communicate your thoughts and words to your daughter in a positive way. God wants to be the Friend we turn to with our most difficult problems, and if you ask Him, He can help you with this situation and with the other difficult problems in your life. Praying is exactly like talking to a friend. Tell Him what you are thinking and feeling. Then stop, be still, and listen as He speaks answers into your heart.
May you hear from God,
Linda and Charles