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Thursday, January 26, 2006



I like mother for natural mother and mum for adoptive mother. Or other mother for the one you are referring to (ha ha confusing but oh well). Natural mother is my favourite, not to be insulting to adoptive mothers it's just the truth, it's not meant to say the other is not natural. Anything BUT birthmother pleeeeeze!!


I have the same issues. After 20 years of using it, birthmother just doesn't bug me too much. If I don't think about it much. Most of the others bug me *more* for the same reasons as you. Lifemother completely irks me. First mother feels best to me.


As a prospective adoptive parent who is going through a very hellish time with adoption right now, your post irritated me. I won't say it made me mad, it didn't, it just irritated me.

Here's the thing, both myself and my husband have no issues regarding where we will stand as parents in an adoptive parents roll. Nor do we wish to harm, put on a lower level or in other way make the person who created and gives birth to the child that will enter our lives, feel bad.

But would someone please tell me how on earth adoptive parents are suppose to make everyone happy and comfortable with the terms we use?

First Mother, Natural Mother, Birth Mother, Life Mother, I don't care! Just tell me what I can say that won't make me out to be a bad person. I'm so sick of people telling us we are wrong to adopt, we are wrong for not adopting out of country, etc., etc.

We just want to be parents. Maybe we should have gone through IVF and tried more ART proceedures. We were simply naive when we started this process to think that all we needed to do was love a child. Because you know what, adoption sucks if that's all you think it is. No matter how much you know you will love the adopted child that enters your life, people dont' care. There are web sites out there that consider me evil because I believe in adoption and because I want to adopt and have non-visitation after placement type of adoption. The only person who should really count in adoption is the child, not the adoptive parents or the life mother, birth mother, etc. The child! The child needs to decided IF and WHEN he or she wants to establish a relationship with his/her biological family. The adoptive parents have the job of making sure they support that decision and do everything they can to make sure that the child knows they support that decision.

I didn't want to write this long of a post and get off track as much as I did, but I'm just so sick of everyone being so frickin' sensative to good intentioned wording. If you know in your heart what you are to E. than you won't care what someone calls you.


Umm... Away... the thing is that this is Kateri's post. It is her bandwidth and if she chooses to write about the pain this causes her, you don't really have much to say about it, unless you want to create a post about it on your own blog.

I agree (as I am an amom myself) that sometimes I feel frustrated because no matter what phrase I use to refer to my daughter's biological mother, I'm going to piss somebody off. You can't please all the people all the time. However, the people who get pissed still have a right to express their feelings. In my case, I go with 'birthmother' because that's what my daughter's other mother prefers.


having the same issue here. was going to post something about - just tell me what works and i'll use it - because i don't have a preference :)

i don't mind first mother at all. i wouldn't call myself a second mother, but rather adoptive mother or just mama in reference to who i am to z.

but how about something like mama kateri? we call pea and purl mama pea and papa purl. when z gets older, she can change that if she wants.


The semantics are so difficult. As a soon-to-be adoptive parent I hope that my partner and I will be able to work out something with the person who gave birth to the baby we adopt (how did you like that little dance?) around language that works for all of us. Since we are both women, I always get stuck on the "first mom" language - it makes sense to me on some levels, but since two-mom families (bio or adoptive) are constantly fighting a public battle to be recognized as equal parents (think about the phrase "real mom" in that context), I struggle with that one in particular. This issue almost needs a whole new language, doesn't it?


Speaking for myself, I personally prefer "first mother" or maybe even "other mother" (though the rhyming makes that kind of a mouth full).

Like Afrindiemum, I would probably refer to myself as just "mother" unless it was in the context of explaining it to the kiddo, in that situation "second mother" or "adoptive mother" wouldn't bother me. Our kid will have two mothers, I'm cool with that. I don't feel like I need to be all competative about not letting someone else be "first" to my "second".

Should we end up with a situation in which openess is possible (extremely unlikely), I would be ok with the first mom making the choice as to what she is called (it would probably be in CHinese, so it isnt really applicable to your post about options though ;)


When I first heard an adoptive mom refer to her child's first mom, I thought it was a little strange. If we ever do adopt, maybe that's the term I'll use. I didn't realize birth mother had the potential to be hurtful.

{{{hugs}}} to you, too.


I just couldn't go away without sending you an internet hug. I don't have any answers or suggestions...

You are a mother. And that is so incredibly special in every way.


i am trying to rid the term "birthmother" from my vocabulary, but it's hard. what i have settled on is to refer to "birthmothers" as simply mothers, and adoptive mothers as simply mothers, and to use a somewhat cumbersome but accurate description of the circumstances making that person a mother when the context requires that. so for example, if i were having a conversation in which it was clear whom i was speaking of, i simply refer to micah's mother, or even mom. for example, if someone asks, "what do you know about micah's birthfamily?" i would say, "well, his mom is... and his dad is... and he has two sisters who...." and if the context didn't make it clear, i would say, i think, "micah's mom who placed him with us for adoption." or something like that. in a pinch, i guess i like "first mother" better than any other label.

we've had to get used to the fact that there isn't good language out there for multiple moms, since micah actually has *three* moms (poor kid!) so, for example, in trixie's case, i hate the term "bio mom" to refer to julie and "non-bio mom" to refer to me. as though julie's whole relationship with trixie can be reduced to their biological connection, and even worse, my relationship can be defined by what it's not. yuck.

as for away2me's suggestion that this is just about people being "too frickin sensitive," i would point out that language matters enormously, especially when you're part of a group which society has marginalized. marginalization happens in many ways through language, and one of the ways a marginalized group can redefine themselves for themselves, as well as the rest of us, it to reclaim appropriate and positive langauge. language is not a minor thing.

it's not easy having to be sensitive to everyone's needs, especially when it feels like some of those folks are hostile to you. but by definition, adoption creates a family that is just different than the one you would have formed without it. and if you want to do adoption ethically, you need to be sensitive to all the needs of all the people in that family. and in the end, *that* is what's going to meet the needs of the child.

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