Challenges of Open Adoptions: Difficulties with Birth Parents

Open adoptions have many benefits for the child, the adoptive parents, and the birth parents. It can be a blessing or a hassle, depending on the circumstances. What is most important in these meetings is protecting the adoptee from an emotionally-charged situation where they are at the center of a storm. 

Reminder of Authority

During meetings with the birth parents, it is prudent to retain authority over the adoptee. Adoptive parents have control over the meeting environment, who is allowed to attend, and what type of leeways are given to the child during the meetings. The birth parents may need to be reminded that they are not there to make decisions and give permission to the adoptee. This is a visit, not a parenting opportunity for them.

Create Healthy Boundaries

Boundaries are created to provide structure and limit discourage behaviors. When everyone is aware of the rules and what’s expected of them, meetings will usually go better than when there is guidance. It is healthy to sit down with the birth parents in an open adoption and discuss the limits of their role in the relationship as the child grows and has vistations with them. 

  • No drugs or alcohol is allowed in the meeting
  • Authority remains with the adoptive parents
  • Discuss the important aspects of the meeting with the adoptee beforehand
  • Check in with the adoptee after each meeting and decide if changes need to occur

Keep It Simple

When meeting with birth parents, it is important to remember why you’re doing this. It is for the health and well-being of your child. The more they know their birth family, the more information they will have on their medical history, their family history and lineage, and the reasons they were given up for adoption. It can go a long way towards creating a more self-confident and well-rounded identity for your child. 
Meeting and having a relationship with birth parents can be rewarding for both you and your child, so try your best to make the meet ups work. Be open and honest about your expectations and always set your limits ahead of time to ensure everyone is aware of the situation. 

Be Open to a Solution

Remember that a birth parent may ask for more than you were ready to give. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Make sure to have compassion and keep an open mind to their requests. If there is a legitimate reason to say no, then do so firmly and stick to your decision. Otherwise, give yourself some time to consider their requests and really look at if it is in the best interest of your child. Sometimes, a birth parent may have a great idea on how to make things easier on the child that will benefit all parties.
Open adoptions are more common now than ever, and having a working relationship with birth parents is part of the journey. Keep an open mind and consider what’s best for your child, and you can’t go wrong.

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Angel Adoption, Inc. provides marketing and advertising services that assist biological parents considering adoption and prospective adoptive parents to connect with each other, and provides support and referral services throughout the process. Angel Adoption, Inc. is an independent contractor and provides services under the supervision of Lutheran Child and Family Services of Illinois, License #012998, One Oakbrook Terrace, #501, Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181; 708-771-7180.