Open adoption is a relatively new idea, becoming more and more popular in the last few decades. Open adoption used to mean a letter and a few pictures exchanged through the adoption attorney or agency once or twice a year and sometimes a mediated visit. Today, families are thinking outside the box when it comes to keeping connected with their birth families.
- Use a ‘huggable growth chart’. A family shared their story on Adoptive Families’ website with how they used a stuffed animal to stay connected with their birth family. Buy three of the same stuffed animal, one for your child, and one for each of your child’s birth parents. As your child gets older, keep sending pictures of your child with the stuffed animal. This can allow their birth parents to see just how big the child has grown, and allows them the comfort of having something in common. As your child gets older, remind them that their birth parents each have the same special stuffed animal, so your child feels like they have a connection between them and their birth parents.
- Be ‘Linked by Ink’. I’ve read stories about adoptive and birth families getting the same tattoo. Adoptive Families showed a family where the birth mother and the adoptive mother got their child’s footprint from the birth certificate tattooed on their feet. They went together the get the tattoos and say that the tattoos are a permanent and daily reminder of their lifelong connection.
- Create a private blog. With a private blog you can upload photos and share events and send the link to your blog to whomever you feel comfortable with sharing. You can send it to your child’s birth family as well as your extended family or friends. Your child’s birth family can have the option to post replies and pictures. Blogging is a great way to create a history and a connection with your child’s birth family.
- Create a Facebook page. Some families create a Facebook page under their child’s birth name and make the settings private. Then, your child’s birth family can become friends with the Facebook page to keep up with your child’s life. The page is private so you can post pictures, videos, and written updates without any outside comments. This is another great way to create history and a connection with your child’s birth family.
- Design a calendar. Design a calendar with photos that highlight the events of your child’s life over the previous year as holiday gifts for the birth family. The calendars photos can be framed after the year is over.
- Find a connection with your child’s birth grandparents. Often times birth grandparents would like to be involved in the open connection. Adoptive Families had a story about a birth grandmother who was a hair dresser so they went to her every six to eight weeks for their child’s haircut. As their child got older he was able to have a great relationship with his birth family.
- Recordable Storybook. Send your child’s birth parents a recordable storybook that lets them record them reading the story. Let your child read the storybook as often as they would like.
- Decorate Your Child’s Outline. When your child gets a little older, once a year trace the outline of your child’s body and let them decorate it to look like themselves. After they are done decorating their outline send it to the birth family so they can see how your child portrays themselves. This can be more exciting than pictures because it is directly how your child sees themselves.
- Make Skype/FaceTime Dates. By having Skype or FaceTime dates, your child and their birth parents can talk directly. This can be very beneficial for all sides of the triad. As your child gets older they can set their own dates up if they would like.
- Send Care Packages. Send your child’s birth parents care packages. Be sure to include your child’s latest art projects (because we all know you have plenty) and any of their latest school pictures! Your child’s birth family will enjoy these care packages, especially if your older child helps put them together. Sent with love!
- Use Apps like Tweekaboo. By using an app like Tweekaboo, you can send out your child’s first moments, messy moments, the tender moments, or your proud moments. This allows your child’s birth family to feel involved in these amazing milestones that your child is going through.
These are just a short list of creative ways to stay connected with your child’s birth family. Other ways could be to display pictures of your child’s birth parents and birth siblings in your house to honor them, help your older child write letters to their birth family, or help your older child decorate and send their birth parents cards on Mother’s or Father’s Day. Connecting with your child’s birth parents through social media sites or text is a great way for you or your older child to stay connected. A final idea is to take a photo with your child’s birth family at the same location around the same time every year or to celebrate or incorporate holiday traditions with your child’s birth family.
We hope these ideas give you some options in which you can stay in touch with your child’s birth family. Let us know if you have any creative ideas that we didn’t mention! All of these ideas are ways to stay connected and are interactive ways to get your child’s birth family involved in your child’s life. And remember, there are ups and downs in all relationships but keeping communication open can be beneficial for all involved in your adoption triad!