As an adoptive parent, it is natural to want to show your child’s birth parents that your child is happy, healthy, and loved. As visits from birth parents’ approach, many find themselves feeling nervous and unsure of what to say or how to make the visit enjoyable. Relax, your child’s birth parents will see what a great job you are doing. Here are some tips on getting the most out of these special occasions.
Choose a fun activity. Having something specific to do will take the pressure off trying to force things. Try to pick a recreation that everyone will enjoy doing. Ideally, something that the child will enjoy, but will also allow for time to get to know one another. Not only is this a time of bonding for your child and their birth parents, but it’s also a time for you to bond with your child’s birth parents. Some activities we suggest include:
- Taking a trip to the zoo or aquarium
- Take a day at the beach
- Have a picnic and throw a frisbee or fly a kite
- Spend a day at the amusement park
- Plan a DIY arts & craft
- Go to the playground or a nearby park
- Visit a museum
Consider your child’s feelings. Sometimes adopted children have complex feelings surrounding their birth parents. Take the time to ask your child if they understand the reason for the visit or if they find they find the visits enjoyable. This will give you a better understanding of the emotions they are experiencing, good or bad. Reassure your child that they can talk about their feelings, whatever they may be. Talking about our emotions allows us to process them in a healthy way.
Address your own feelings. Some adoptive parents are afraid of birth parent visits. They worry that the visits might make the birth parent regret their decision or confuse the child. Voice these fears with your partner, but remember that birth parent visits are massively beneficial for all members of the adoption triad. Rest assured; they will not confuse your child about parental roles.
Help the birth parents to feel at ease. Building the foundation of your relationship with your child’s birth parents is vital to a successful and healthy relationship with one another. Work to get passed the initial awkwardness that may exist. If you need a conversation starter, your child is perfect. If you’re worried about how to keep the conversation alive, come up with a few questions beforehand. If they are in school, ask them how classes are going. If they have a new job, ask them if they like it. If they have other children, ask them how they are doing. Find out if you have any mutual hobbies or interests.
The most important thing to remember throughout the process is to be yourself. If you let your authentic self shine, the birth parents will have no problem realizing what a wonderful job you are doing.