Should Adoptive Parents and Expectant Parents Become Friends
In the case of open adoption, the adoptive parents and birth mother will know each other. Whether or not adoptive parents and expectant parents should become friends is ultimately up to both parties, but they should be aware that building a relationship between adoptive parents and expectant parents has both risks and benefits.
Risks of Adoptive Parents and Expectant Parents Becoming Friends
There are concerns that meeting the adoptive parents before the child is born can intentionally or unintentionally manipulate birth parents into choosing adoption.
At times a relationship between adoptive parents and a birth mother can feel coercive and make the birth mother feel as though she does not have the freedom to change her mind about choosing adoption for her child.
Birth parents need to be educated about the risks involved with developing a relationship with adoptive parents, so they understand they might feel coerced or obligated to not change their mind.
Benefits of Adoptive Parents and Expectant Parents Becoming Friends
On the other hand, the birth mother may feel supported emotionally if she has a relationship with the adoptive parents. She may be relieved to know the parents raising her child are people she can trust. Communication with the adoptive parents before the baby is born can be incredibly important in allowing the birth parents to make a fully informed decision.
Additionally, when adoptive parents are in contact with birth parents throughout the adoption process, they can see the anguish and emotions the birth parents are faced with regarding their decision. After witnessing this, the adoptive parents are more likely to defend the birth parents because they know that choosing adoption was not an easy choice for them. Having a friendship between adoptive parents and expectant parents can give the adoptive parents a chance to better tell their child’s story with respect to the birth parents.
Best Practices for a Relationship Between Adoptive Parents and Expectant Parents
One of the best ways to minimize the risk involved in developing a relationship between adoptive parents and expectant parents is to have an adoption professional involved in the relationship, that is able to protect the expectant parents’ right to change their minds. Involving a third party who can objectively observe and help manage the situation makes the relationship healthier. The third party should be able to explain to the adoptive parents how their behaviors or words might be interpreted by the birth parents, as well as be able to help the birth mother understand the risks and benefits involved in developing a relationship with the adoptive parents.
Another way to avoid feelings of coercion in the relationship is to openly talk in advance about the process, including the potential for the birth mother to change her mind. This sets reasonable expectations in a way that hopefully makes the birth mother more comfortable.