Sammy Saturday: Can we visit my first mom?

How do you say no to this?/Mama C and the Boys (2010)

Just like that. He overheard a conversation I was having with friends who are planning a trip to meet their son’s birth parents.  Later that night he asked; Mom can we go visit Tea soon?

Because of the conversation I had earlier that day I was already wondering the same question. I often think he has a touch of the mind reader in him though.

He was in the top bunk. He was looking at a picture of her, in a frame across from him on the wall.

Maybe is all I said.

Please? He replied.

I’d like that too. I answered, while looking him in the eye, and rubbing the back of head, standing on the edge of Marcel’s bed. Can I come too? Marcel asked from below.

Of course. We are all one big giant family. Our family. Tea’s family. Tree’s family. Everyone.

Sam looked at me with a smile that reflected his recent maturity-growth spurt. A I have landed in this new place growth spurt.

Let’s keep talking about it, and thinking about it. I’ll write to Tea, and ask her what her summer looks like. Sound good?

I really want to see her. And my siblings. He added.

And your grandparents. I reminded him.

Something my friend Julie, another TRA parent said to me earlier hit home in such a powerful way; We spend so much time and effort cultivating friendships with African American families here, and [our child] has the gigantic family living in another state that could very well be there for him in all sorts of meaningful ways all his life. We just decided it was time to work on that too.

Just like that. They were going to make it happen. I felt so much envy. What was stopping us from doing the same thing? What story had I written that was making that seem implausible?

We talked about how to normalize a visit from adoptive parents for a birth mother who may not have that model already. We talked about how you discover what her or their preconceptions are. How you have that discussion. Or if you need to.

My son’s first family lives across the country.

They have these things called planes.

What better use of my remaining adoption tax credit, then tickets for all of us to go visit? I was once told to wait until he was much older. Whose story is that?

Whose story is this?  If Sam is ready, and Tea is ready. Then, Mama C is ready too. Thoughts anyone? What is your experience of taking the step to meet for the first time with “older” kids (as in the age they can remember the meeting, and have input in the decision). How did you prep everyone for the visit? And if you are a first mom/parent/guardian how did you know if you were ready or not ready to make that connection happen?


  1. You are so amazing. No, really. You have just opened my eyes up to a side of adoption that I’ve never thought about before… well, kinda. My grandmother has two adopted children, and for them, the “giant family” dynamic was in place because of the fact that the children who are now her daughter and son, were her cousins before. I never thought of the possibility of the “giant family” outside of family adoptions. This is great! When the visit takes place, I hope it is wonderful for all involved.

  2. Beautiful photo of your gorgeous buy by the way. Tough one. Sometimes it’s hard to know if a little boy asking for a full visit really understands what he’s asking for. I’d talk it over with Tea and decide what’s best for your families. But what the heck do I know?

    • I hear you. We have many friends that way. My thinking was that we go out that way, and make ourselves available for a couple of short visits if it felt right? Who knows, it could be super easy. It will be just what it is. Right? But My hope is that we begin the unfolding, the relationship building now vs later. We have so many west coast connections it would be easy to plan lots of ease on either side too.

  3. Oh, so many thoughts fly through my mind.
    Visiting both birth families was one of the best things we have ever done. Actually, it was the best thing we’ve ever done!!!
    Lilly here! I think that being with your birth family is a bit emotional to start with but I got really happy after a while with them so then is makes the trip really fun!
    Tophe says, “Well, um. I think you should go, cause like Sam wants too. And if he feels he’s ready then I think you should go. I thought my trip was good. I thought it was good to see them, and I’m sure Sam would be too. Plus it’s just a light, fun trip – at least for me. So overall I think that it would be beneficial to Sam in the long run.

    The trip was a wonderful experience. I spent time working on being present and keeping my emotions as mine. Watching my children and their interactions with their birth mothers, siblings, grandparents, aunts, and uncles was one of the most beautifully intense moments of my life.

    Love to get together with you to talk.

  4. I’m so curious to hear how this planning (and visit, if it comes to pass) unfold for you all. My son is still a toddler, and I hope to make a visit while he’s still not quite old enough to process it all – so that the parents (all of us) can see how it feels, and figure out how what next.

  5. I think it is a great idea. Like you said, “whose story is it?” People give all kind of crazy advice to adoptive families. My husband and I adopted our first son domestically and we have an open adoption. Obviously that makes it easier since we are on the same continent, but I feel like if the birth mother and child both want to that there is no reason to deny that from either of them. It will answer so many questions that each of them has been probably been going over and over in their minds about who the other is and what they are like. Blessings to you. Thanks for sharing your story. I just posted part two of our story tonight.

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