Open adoption is not a “goodbye” to your child, rather, it is a type of adoption that still gives you access to your child. Establishing contact with adoptive parents and your child shows that you have progressed from one stage of your adoptive journey to the next. As a result, it is a good idea to decide on your plans for future interactions between you and your child.
Here are some open adoption questions to consider.
- What kind of interaction do I want after the adoption?
Every open adoption is unique in terms of the kind of interaction that will occur after the adoption. Typical types of interaction include:
- Phone calls
- In-person visits
- Messages and texts
You and the adoptive parents will decide how much interaction you will have with your child. It’s entirely up to you and the parents whether you want to communicate regularly or only a few times per year. We recommend that you only have as much interaction as you are ready for; don’t feel obligated to do more than you are ready to. For example, you may just feel comfortable texting back and forth. That’s good because it allows you to have control over the amount and type of future interactions.
- What if I want to meet with my child in person?
Some birth moms opt to visit their children at least once a year. Depending on your rapport with the adopted parents and where you reside, you could have more contact. Open adoption visits are often held once or twice a year in a public setting such as a park or restaurant.
Of course, you have to establish some ground rules for your in-person meetings. For example, would the visit be for a few hours or a whole weekend at a hotel close to them? Your in-person meetings with your kid will be determined by your circumstances, how you feel and how the adopted parents feel.
- How do you feel about giving and receiving gifts?
The birth parents and adoptive parents may occasionally exchange gifts, especially around the child’s birthday or during holidays. These gifts may include anything from toys to a simple card. The adoption laws in your state, as well as your interaction with the adoptive family, will determine if you can give your kid gifts or get gifts from the adoptive parents. It is a good idea to bring this up when deciding on the extent of interaction you want in an open adoption. You should not feel obligated to provide more information than you are prepared to offer or to maintain commitments that you are unable to fulfill.
- Will I need some space after adoption?
It is common to have feelings of loss and sadness after adoption. You may feel a mix of loss and sadness, denial, and even episodes of depression. You have to work through all those feelings. Some birth moms may be saddened by the lack of a deeper bond with their child. Others may be afraid of meeting their child in person because they believe it will impede them from moving on. Each birth mom’s experience is unique, and while open adoption does not promise that you will not experience grief or sadness, it allows you to witness for yourself if your child is happy.
For the time being, you may be content with getting photographs and letters from the adoptive family while you wait for in-person contact. Some birth moms request that their adoption agency retain any images or letters for them until they are ready to receive them.