Now that open adoptions are more common, secretive adoptions where the child and the birthmother have no knowledge of each other are, for many, a thing of the past. Instead, adoptive parents often communicate with the birthparents, sharing updates like photos and videos as the child grows. Below are some of the methods of communication you might consider setting up with your child’s birthparents.
One of the most common ways for adoptive parents to keep in touch with birthparents is also one of the oldest: letters and printed photos. Because this method gives the sense of a bit of distance, this is often the preferred method of many birthmothers when first starting out. The child’s parents can take photos and write letters at certain intervals or at certain milestones and send it either directly to the birthparents, or to the adoption agency to relay onto them.
Unfortunately, this method of communication is also one of the least reliable. Not only do you have to trust the postal system, you also run the risk of the birthparents moving without remembering to inform you or the adoption agency of their new address.
Another solution to communicating with birthparents is email. Using email allows parents to send videos as well as photos and written communications, offering one more method of connection. Email is also easier for most people to do more often, meaning that if the birthparents want more updates, they are most likely to get that done this way.
An additional benefit of email is that it provides an automatic backup of all communications, so unlike physical mail that can get lost, the birthparent can always go back and find past photos and letters easily, and the adoptive parent can easily see when their last email to the birthparent was.
With the rise of social media in recent years, adoptive and birth parents have found many ways to use the sites as a medium for maintaining communication. Social media is often image-driven, making it simple to share photos of the child as they grow.
There are several options to consider for communicating via social media. Facebook is the most commonly chosen platform, as its privacy options allows both birthparents and adoptive parents to choose exactly how much they want to share. Private groups are commonly used, where birthparents can be added as well as any extended family of the birthparents who would like to see the child’s development and updates. If both parties are comfortable with it, some adoptive families friend the birthparents on Facebook so they can see all of their posts and updates, but this is too close and personal for some to feel comfortable with. The most important thing is to find a balance of sharing and privacy that both sides can feel comfortable with while fulfilling the promised level of communication from the open adoption.