You know, as I go through the process of adoption I wonder what we should call our birthparents in front of our child. To say "birth" mother would raise questions about birth itself and at Ty's age I wouldn't want to explain the birds and the bees. "Biological" seems too big of a word but even "first" mom doesn't sound right. It implies you're second and may also imply there would be more moms to come after you, like a third and a fourth mom, at least from a child's way of thinking. "Real" mom to me is inappropriate and something I would never use because to me we're both real. Neither mother is fake. My social worker recommended using "biological" but I was wondering whether you and Ben struggled with the same ideas of introducing adoption terms to Ty.
When Ben and I first dipped our toes into adopting waters, we asked a lot of the same questions and I don't know that we had answers pre-Ty. For me, adoption is such a progressive process that continuously changes the way I view my family and the world. Ben and I are super laid-back people and we decided from the beginning that the topic of adoption would be wide open conversation in and out of our home. Rebekah and her family are an extension of ours and we talk about them often.
When it comes to adoption lingo, I believe that it, truly, comes down to security. If you are secure in your role as mother, than there is no threat in terminology. We did ask Rebekah in the beginning of our friendship what she envisioned Ty calling her. It was her idea to use "Miss Rebekah" and whether we called her Ty's birth mother or first mother, she didn't have a preference.
Today, we use them all interchangeably. Because Ty understands Rebekah's place in his life (as much as he can at 2 1/2), when him and I talk about her, I simply say, "Miss Rebekah". If I'm talking about Rebekah with friends I call her by name, but if I'm talking about her to someone that doesn't know our story well, I most often refer to her as "Ty's mom."
The use of Ty's mom, used to bug some people around me, but I have never been threatened by it. She is Ty's mom and deserves to be referred to as such. Calling her mom, doesn't make me feel any less the role.
When Ty talks about Rebekah, he often says "My first mama," which I find completely endearing. It warms my heart every time I hear those words. For me, it represents a well-rounded kid that understands his beginning, as well as his present.
So far, Ty has not experienced confusion. He loves Rebekah because we love her and talks positively about adoption because we do. Open dialog and God-centered confidence make the complications of adoption a natural topic in our home.
If you have a question, feel free to leave it in the comments or email me directly. I am certainly not an expert, but will write openly and honestly from our experiences so far.