In an open adoption, birth parents and the adoptive families work out just how open they want the adoption to be. In some rare cases, the relationship between the birth parents and birth child is very close and at other times it’s all virtual. Once the adoption is finalized, it’s important for the adoptive family to respect the birth parents’ wishes. Some adoptive families don’t understand what kind of relationship they should have with the birth parents. In most cases, birth parents that went through with an open adoption chose it because they wanted to have updates and some form of connection with their birth child. We would like to outline what kind of relationship most birth parents expect post-birth and how you can keep in touch.
Some birth parents have troubles physically meeting or even talking over the phone with their birth child; however, most birth parents are excited and enjoy pictures. Without jumping into the middle of your life, they like to know what’s going on with their birth child and how his/her life is going. We recommend taking pictures and sending them to the birth parent on a regular basis. Many adoptive families add the birth parents on Facebook and post pictures of their child in their photo album. This is a great way to keep in touch with the birth parents when they don’t want to meet face-to-face, as they can choose when to look at the photos. If the photos come in through the regular mail, the birth parents will be sure to see them. Sometimes the birth parents are going through an emotional time and can’t look at the pictures at that moment. In times like these, they can choose not to look at Facebook until they are ready. It’s hard to do this with physical mail.
Your child may want to see pictures and updates from his/her birth parents as well. Let the birth parents know and if they are open to the idea, they can send pictures back. It’s great for the child to see as well because, to them, there are no mysteries and it’s not a one-way street. In cases where the birth parents prefer to remain anonymous, it’s important to respect those wishes as well and explain to the child that it’s difficult for them.
Audial communication is a great way to connect birth parents with a child. We recommend calling on a somewhat regular basis. Work out with the birth parents how often they would like to speak with you and your child. Also, contact Adoption Makes Family and make sure it’s okay to call on the day you plan to call the birth parents. It can be emotional and most birth parents prefer to know beforehand. It’s a great way to keep in touch and provide life updates on your child. It’s also comforting for the birth parents to know they made the right decision. Ensure them that their child is very loved and well taken care of. We recommend talking about:
- Life updates
Your child’s life will come to some milestones and it’s up to you to determine, based on the current relationship with the birth parents, what to do during these milestones. Some of these milestones include:
- First haircut
- First steps
- First words
- First birthday
- First Christmas
- First day of school
The list goes on and on throughout their life. Many birth parents like to receive a kind of memento from their birth child, such as a video of their first steps and pictures from events. Sometimes you should keep 2 locks of hair from the first haircut: one for you and one for the birth parents. If you’re really unsure, let the birth parent know that this is a milestone in the child’s life and if they would like you can send something over to them. These mementos during the milestones show that the child is growing up and having a happy and healthy life. In the end, that’s what the birth parents truly want.
Determining the Type of Relationship
Before the birth and any finalizing stages, you should have a general idea of the openness of the adoption. If at any time you are not sure, feel free to ask us or the birth parents. We can find out for you without crossing any type of lines or boundaries. Part of the process on the birth parents’ end is to highlight what they want out of an open adoption. We find that birth parents may just want pictures and/or videos of the child. Other times they may want to communicate back and forth.
If you ever have any questions about your adoption (pre-adoption or post adoption), feel free to contact us. We’re here to help you, your child, and the birth parents live happy lives.