Many experts now recommend open adoption as the healthiest kind for all parties involved — it allows the child to know who their birth parents are, keeps the lines of communication open between all parties, and helps the birth parents to know how the child is faring, which can make the adoption placement much less stressful for them.
With so much of pop culture focusing on the “secret” adoptions, it can be hard for some to wrap their mind around an open adoption. How much communication is expected? What is the norm? Below, we address those concerns to help you figure out what kind of open adoption will work best for you.
A Two-way Street
It is important to remember that there are two adult parties involved in the open adoption — the adoptive family and the birth family. The decision on exactly how much communication is to be held between the two can’t be decided by just one of those parties; it’s something that everyone has to agree on.
Because communication can’t be forced, in most cases the side who wants the least communication is the one that will end up being acquiesced to. However, to some, those levels of communication are very important, and disagreements over that can cause an adoption to fall through, so it is recommended to try to keep an open mind when discussing communication options. Also keep in mind that preferences may change over time, so some flexibility may be needed over the years.
Thanks to modern technology, there are a plethora of options when it comes to communicating with your child’s birth family. Of course, if you live close enough, meeting up occasionally in person may be an option, but some don’t desire that level of interaction. If that is the case, you might consider:
- Phone or video calls: Thanks to cell phones and apps like Skype and Facebook, long-distance calls are no longer a concern. You can update the birth family on your child’s progress and even allow the child to speak with them on the phone or on a video chat.
- Email: A monthly or twice-yearly email to update the birth parents on your child’s welfare can be an easy way to keep in contact. You can attach pictures and videos to the emails as well.
- Social media: If both sides feel comfortable with it, you can add them on your social media accounts so they can see any images you post of your child, as well as chat occasionally about their growth and progress.
- Chat apps: If social media is a bit much for both sides, chat apps offer a great way to stay in touch while maintaining a bit more distance. Apps like Discord and GroupMe are great options, though it is always wise to have a secondary method of contact in case the app goes down.
No matter how you choose to communicate, it is important to remember that it is up to both sides to decide and agree on a method while keeping the child’s best interests at heart. With that in mind, you will be able to find a degree of openness and communication that will work for your situation.