My Birth Daughter is Afraid of Me

Dear BirthMother,

I placed my daughter in an open adoption three years ago. We get together every 6 months. The last two visits were really hard for me because my daughter was afraid to come to me without her adopted mother along. I feel so hurt and confused and I don’t know how to deal with it. I don’t want to avoid the visits but I hate looking forward to going and then feeling this way. 

-Hurt and Confused

Dear Hurt and Confused,

My heart understands the pain and betrayal that you must feel. However, it is extremely important that you work through these feelings or they will be a hindrance to your relationship with your daughter and the adoptive family.
One way to work through the pain is to fully understand that adoptees, like all children can go through separation issues. Separation anxiety can begin before a child’s first birthday and last as long as 4-5 years of age. As your daughter gets older and you stay consistent these issues should lesson. You can help by staying patient and understanding. Remember that this is only temporary. As your child grows older so does her capacity to understand the uniqueness of her family structure.
Develop a special routines with your daughter such as a special wave or kiss that only the two of you share. Keep a journal of how you are feeling, This can help your daughter should she decide to be a parent herself one day.
If this anxiety becomes serious enough that it interferes with school or friendships then the entire family might benefit from post adoption group support.
Thank you so much for your vulnerability in writing..xo

Much Love to you,