When my older, adopted, daughter, Jessica, was in kindergarten she loved to attend birthday parties for her classmates. However, one day she came home from a birthday celebration very sad and very quiet. She wanted to be left alone and didn’t want to talk about the party.
Finally, the next day while she was lying on the couch, she started crying and saying that some people think that birthmothers sell their babies. Apparently at the party on the previous day, many of the children had shared stories about the day they were born. When Jessica shared her birth and adoption story, someone asked what a "birth mother" was. Another classmate declared that birthmothers were women who sold their babies. Clearly, Jessica was deeply hurt by this remark. I asked her if she thought that the comment was true. She said, "NO . . . but it still makes me cry."
I was tempted to grab our photo albums and videotapes and review once again the story of how Jessica came to be entrusted to our family . . . but my husband held up his hand and stated that enough had been said. So, instead of embarking on a very long talk, we walked into the next room, picked up the phone and called our daughter’s birthmother, Angie. We told her briefly about Jessica’s experience and her need for reassurance. Angie didn’t panic. She didn’t criticize Jessica’s classmate nor did she question the value of adoption. Angie simply thanked us for the call and got busy making phone calls to rally other members of Jessica’s birthfamily. Within a short time, there was a plan for Jessica to visit her birthmother’s home. In fact, we all decided that this was the perfect opportunity for Jessica to have her first "sleep over." As expected, this emergency "overnighter" was a great experience for everyone and Jessica came home looking tired, but talkative and happy.
A short time later, my husband and I were attending a parent/teacher
at Jessica’s school. When the teacher had completed her thorough report of Jessica’s progress, she told us that she wanted to share a story with us. The teacher said that one afternoon she was surprised to see Jessica stand up and announce to the class that she had visited her birthmother’s house. Jessica went on to say that she wanted them all to know that she and her birthmother had made cookies together. Furthermore, Jessica emphasized that the cookies they made were heart-shaped cookies. Then Jessica sat back down. The teacher knew she had witnessed something significant but didn’t understand what was going on in Jessica’s head. My husband and I smiled. The teacher had seen a five-year-old’s way of telling her classmates that her birthmother did not sell her. In fact, her birthmother was someone who made cookies with her. Indeed, birthmothers make heart- shaped cookies . . . cookies about LOVE.