The most common types of adoption agreements are open, semi-open, and closed. Each of these agreements affect you and your child differently. With an open and/or semi-open adoption agreement, fostering a relationship with your child’s birth parents is important. This is the biggest distinction between open and closed agreements. Given the open nature of this adoption agreement, the child can explore their background more freely. However, when discovering they are adopted, children often need support and reassurance. There are helpful tips from both the birth and adoptive parent viewpoint to consider at each stage in the adoption journey.
Before Placement – From a Birth Parent’s Perspective
Before you place your child, try to form a relationship with the adoptive parents and have a clear understanding about how involved you would like to be in the child’s life. You guys can plan the first couple of visits with each other. Talk about the frequency of visits, photographs, and updates during the child’s life. Of course these plans may change as the child gets older, but do your best to be understanding and flexible with the situation at hand. If both parties are consistent, this will also offer peace of mind to the child(ren).
After Placement – From a Birth Parent and Adoptive Parent’s Perspective
“I just placed my child up for adoption, now what?!” After placing your child in an adoptive parents’ care, there are a ton of questions running through a birth mother’s head about what’s next: “Will they stick to our agreement?” “Is my child going to understand my decision?” “What can I do to make this experience better?” With so many lingering questions, it is easy to be overwhelmed with emotions. Remember, you are not alone in this situation. There are other birth parents experiencing these same feelings.
As the adoptive parent(s), be sensitive to the birth parent(s)’ emotions. They have empty arms, changing hormones, bodily pain, and potential postpartum depression. While on the other end, as the adoptive parent(s), you are filled with excitement because of your new addition to the family. Keep in mind the grief the birth parent(s) may be feeling at this time, so don’t be alarmed if they begin to pull away. Try to be sensitive to their feelings and respect their needed time and/or space.
If They (The Birth Parents) Begin to Become Distant
Don’t feel at all offended when a birth parent seems to be become distant or taking time for themselves. This could be a very confusing time for them and they may be feeling a sense of grief or anger. This is very normal in most adoption cases and can occur at any time, even years after the adoption.
Although they maybe distant and pulling away, keep the lines of communication open. They may not respond, but that is okay. Seeing that you put forth effort may encourage them to respond eventually. It is important to not bombard them repeatedly. Have patience and reassure them that they are welcome in their child’s life.
Stay In Touch
In the adoption journey, it is good to stay in touch, keeping in mind that the birth mother is no different than anyone else. Most likely, they have their own issues and events in their lives. There is no harm in becoming a friend to them. Do your best to show that you are interested in their lives and care about what is going on. If you are both comfortable, set a date where just the two of you go out for lunch or meet in the park. This can be a great way for you to get to know each other better and bond over things you have in common.
In the end, adoption plans don’t always go as expected but remember to be considerate. Enjoy those precious moments to remind you during hard times. Ultimately, both the birth and adoptive parents want what is best for the child – unconditional love.