As the stigma surrounding adoption continues to decrease, many adoptive parents are now choosing to make contact with their children’s birth parents before adoption takes place. This process is known as open adoption, and it can be incredibly beneficial for adopted children, their adoptive parents, and their birth parents. If you’re considering adopting a child, you may find it worthwhile to pursue an open adoption. To help you navigate this process, below are some tips for both connecting with prospective birth parents early in your adoption.
Benefits of Contacting Prospective Birth Parents
Over time, more and more adoptive parents have begun to make and maintain contact with their children’s birth parents. Connecting with prospective birth parents early in the adoption process can come with a variety of benefits. For example, by speaking with a prospective birth mother, you will be able to learn about your prospective child’s heritage and background. This can make it easier for you to help your child develop a strong sense of personal identity.
Additionally, having contact with your prospective child’s birth mother can help reduce any grief she may feel surrounding the adoption. Finally, by engaging in an open adoption, you will allow your child to incorporate adoption into their life story, which will help them feel normal, safe, and loved.
For some, the idea of reaching out to prospective birth parents can be quite intimidating. This is completely normal; adoption is a stressful process, and feelings can run high when contacting a prospective birth mother for the first time. If you are feeling anxious about speaking with a prospective birth parent, it may be best to start small. Instead of approaching challenging subjects right away, start by making small talk about shared tastes and interests. If you feel comfortable enough, you can also ask about her pregnancy and how she’s feeling, as that will show that you care about her state of being.
However, be sure to avoid making assumptions about the prospective birth mother’s situation. More specifically, understand that her baby is not yours until the correct papers have been signed. Additionally, refrain from asking questions about the baby’s father unless he is blatantly involved in the conversation. Above all, rely on your adoption specialist to help guide the discussion, as they can help ensure both parties feel safe and respected.
Continuing the Connection
If initial contact with a prospective birth mother goes well, your adoption specialist may encourage you to remain in contact with her. In this case, you can continue to build a relationship with her by scheduling additional calls or in-person meetings. Regardless, be sure to remain open to questions, and remember that no matter how intimidating the process may seem, it will have significant benefits for you and your future child.