5 Ways Birth Mothers Can Have A Healthy Open Adoption
Choosing an open adoption for your child can be difficult. Many times, birth mothers don’t know quite what to expect when it comes to how an open adoption will work. Fears can be felt on all parts of the equation for both birth mothers as well as hopeful adoptive parents. However, open adoptions are a great option for those birth mothers who can respectfully communicate with the adoptive family. Here are 5 ways birth mothers can have a healthy open adoption that will benefit both the child as well as everyone involved:
Set Clear Boundaries
Most likely the adoptive family will be quick to set boundaries for themselves and the child but don’t forget to set clear limits for yourself as well. Birth mothers have rights within an open adoption and should be respected. Also, talk with the adoptive parents about what everyone would feel comfortable with regarding what the child will call you. This could be your first name or possibly another option that clarifies your role in the child’s life. Don’t be afraid to communicate and ask for updates that have been approved in your adoption process.
You may set certain boundaries with the adoptive parents regarding forms of communication. Some birth mothers only want to exchange emails or letters while others include phone numbers for calls and texts. Whatever method you have chosen, make sure to be in regular contact with the adoptive family so that they can keep you updated on how things are going. Ask what times work best for them to communicate as well as how frequently they want to engage. Also, know that sometimes birth mothers think they want a lot of communication at the beginning of an adoption but that it often dwindles as the child ages. Don’t be afraid to communicate your feelings to the adoptive family about any changes that you want to the communication as well.
Show Honor to Everyone
Realize that open adoptions can be scary for adoptive families at first. Choose to honor the parents that you have chosen for your child by recognizing them as your child’s parent. Making sure to call the child by the name they were given instead of the name you would have chosen for them is a good way to show that you respect the adoptive parents as well. Sometimes adoptive parents can do things differently than what you think is best. Make sure to always honor them as the parent and understand that there may be things that they see when parenting the child 24/7 that aren’t always shown in public. Feel free to ask questions but respect the boundaries that were previously set. Honoring the adoptive parents also shows honor to the child as you help them respect their parents as well.
Plan Visits Beforehand
Make plans to visit the child well in advance so that everyone has time to know about the upcoming visit. Adoptive parents can be busy with childcare and schedules frequently get full of activities and commitments. Planning a visit well in advance will help in finding a time that works for everyone as well as allow the adoptive parent to prepare the child for the upcoming visit. Older adopted children may feel insecure about their adoption and allowing time to talk about it can help them before a visit happens. Make sure to also stick up for yourself concerning what you think would work best for a visit. Choose a location that works for both parties involved as well as a time that isn’t inconvenient for your schedule.
When in Doubt, Ask
There may be certain situations during an open adoption when you aren’t sure how to proceed. If you ever have a question about something, or how to approach a particular subject, make sure to ask someone about it. The support staff at your adoption agency are always happy to help and have experience with open adoptions. You could also ask the adoptive parents themselves if you have questions.
Having a healthy open adoption is essential for all who are involved. Being able to communicate respectfully and honestly with the adoptive parents is an important part of feeling heard and honored as a birth mother. Planning visits well ahead of time as well as setting clear boundaries will eliminate questions and concerns. Being willing to ask when you have doubts about a situation is also crucial in valuing yourself and the adoptive family. Doing all of these things are 5 ways birth mothers can have a healthy open adoption.