Birth mothers who have opted for open adoption may not be able to care for their child the way they intended to, but still want to witness them grow and have some involvement in their lives. This is not true for many parents that make the difficult decision to place their child, so this wish should be respected by adoptive parents. Birth parents have placed their trust in you, so effective communication is important for sustaining that trust.
Maintaining active, consistent communication in a way that respects the rights of the adoptive parents may be tricky but is by no means impossible. Owing to technological advances and a variety of modes of communication, not all forms of communication necessitate big interruptions to the busy schedules of day-to-day life. You can connect with birth parents in person or online.
Understand that birth parents that have chosen open adoption still want to be involved in their child’s life. In your conversations they may express opinions or concerns that conflict with your own. Despite potential disagreements, it is important to actively listen to and respect these concerns. Dismissing them may introduce distrust, which is not conducive to the hopefully loving and nurturing relationship that is possible between child, adoptive parents and birth parents.
Here are a few ideas that you can use when keeping up with the birth parents of your child.
Face to face.
Meeting in person is obviously the most intimate method of communication. However, it can also pose unique challenges. Finding a time that fits your schedule, the birth parents’, and your child’s can be difficult. This may limit frequency of visitations and could introduce frustration when schedules do not line up perfectly.
Meeting face-to-face allows more personal communication through use of body language. While positive body language can help strengthen relationships, negative body language can undo understanding and trust. You should make sure that you are projecting positivity and openness when speaking with the birth parents and take note if their body language shows discomfort or other emotions.
Phone Calls, Texts, and Emails.
While less personal than in-person meetings to some degree, these methods of communication allow for greater flexibility. Quick updates and questions can be exchanged without the need to work around conflicting schedules. There may be less stress involved than when preparing for an in-person visit. Although these options increase access between the birth and adoptive families, it is important to still respect boundaries that may have been agreed upon. Excessively frequent or untimely messages can place strain on these relationships.
Social media provides another platform to keep the birth parents up to date on your child’s life. By following your account, they will be able to see the pictures and stories that you as parents are excited to share with those you love. This can help the birth parents to feel included and less of outsiders. This is a very convenient way to increase the number of contacts between you and the birth parents.