Carolyn Hax

Carolyn Hax: Birth mother nervous about meeting daughter

 

Dear Carolyn: Tomorrow I am meeting my daughter, who I gave up for adoption 17 years ago. I am really anxious and worried that she won’t like me or that she won’t want to continue to have a relationship with me. I have been waiting for this day since I gave her away and now that it is here, I am more worried about what’s next.

We have communicated over the years through letters, emails and Facebook, but this is the first live conversation/meeting. Any advice?

It sounds as if you’re framing her in your mind as having all the power. Remember, you’re fully grown and much more prepared for this than she is, so it might be helpful to remind yourself that she’s going to be a bit of a mess, too. You’re both vulnerable. Understand that, and be ready to give both of you copious breaks and liberal amounts of forgiveness.

Also, I urge you not to go into this with any set expectations. Wanting her to like you and stay in touch with you is natural, but it also reduces this meeting to a transaction with a beginning, a middle and a fixed outcome — which it isn’t. It’s the beginning of a new phase of both of your lives, and it could have several different outcomes over time. She could decide against seeing you again — then reconsider in a year or five or 10. Or now choose a relationship and later change her mind, or something else entirely.

Since you are a mom, think like a mom: The joy of children isn’t in their turning out as you hoped, it’s in seeing them turn out as they are, whoever that may be. Adjust your expectations to “I want to see who she is” if you can. That can’t go wrong.

Email Carolyn at tellme@washpost.com.

Read more Lifestyle stories from the Miami Herald

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category