Open adoption is becoming increasingly common, largely because many experts say open adoptions are the best for the child. As you might expect, an open adoption is when the birth parents maintain a relationship with the adoptive parents and their child. The exact nature of this relationship is agreed upon between the adoptive parents and the birth parents, typically before the baby is born. It can range from anything like frequent visitations to just occasional letters.
Regardless of what your specific open adoption situation is, it can be emotional and challenging for both parties, and that’s why setting boundaries and maintaining a healthy relationship is so important. Today, we’re going to discuss five tips that will help you make sure everyone stays on the same page.
Keep Communication Lines Open
All relationships require communication to function healthily, and the open adoption relationship is no different. Both parties should feel comfortable expressing their feelings on the agreement at any time. That way no one oversteps their boundaries and no one feels misunderstood.
Make Sure the Child Is the #1 Priority
No matter what, both the birth parents and adoptive parents should keep the child at the forefront of every discussion and decision about the open adoption relationship. Ultimately, the purpose of an open adoption is to help the child understand where they came from.
Adoptive children are almost always going to wonder about their heritage, and having a standing relationship with their birth parents helps to assuage some of that confusion. However, if either the birth parents or the adoptive parents overstep their bounds, it can lead to more harm than good for the child.
Make Plans Ahead of Time
Once again, communication is key. When it comes to visitations or calls, the birth parents should never just pop in on the adoptive family unexpectedly. It is better to discuss when and where the meeting can happen, or discuss times when the other person may be available for a call, if you’re just calling.
Moreover, for visitations, it’s usually best to meet with the child in a place like a park, or other location where there can be structured activities.
Remember Your Role in the Child’s Life
Everyone has different parenting styles. Therefore, it’s understandable that birth parents may sometimes struggle with letting the adoptive parents make decisions for their child, but it’s important to keep in mind that, when you started the adoption process, you agreed to waive the right to make such decisions. The adoptive parents are the child’s legal guardians, and you should respect that.
Before making the decision to go with an open adoption, it’s important to learn about adoption and the options open to you. Even after the child is born, however, the learning shouldn’t end. Speak with the adoption agency or get in touch with trainers or counselors who can help you understand and work through your emotions in a healthy way.
Ultimately, maintaining a healthy open adoption relationship is about building trust and maintaining proper communication.