Open adoption, in which some level of communication between birthparents and adoptive parents is required, is becoming an increasingly popular form of adoption. These open adoption arrangements are popular for a variety of reasons, like helping the adopted child to understand his or her background more completely, or helping birthparents better deal with the emotional choice of placing their child. Maintaining an open relationship with your child’s birthparents is beneficial, but not always easy. Here are some tips you can follow to ensure a successful and healthy open adoption!
Create a Plan
Don’t ever agree to a match until you find out what level of openness the birth family is requesting. Establishing a dialogue from the very beginning will help you make a better decision. Talk to your child’s birthparents about the relationship they would like to have with the child and with you, especially about what it will look like during pregnancy and during the first year of the child’s life.
Acknowledge Everyone’s Boundaries
Although the word “boundary” tends to have a negative connotation, it is natural to want to feel secure. Everything can be done with the help of healthy communication, so talk openly with your child’s birthparents from the start. Establish your comfort level and decide how often you want to contact and what you want your relationship to look like before and after the baby is born. Setting up boundaries like this early on will lessen the chances of confusion or disappointment later on.
Get to Know Your Child’s Birthparents
Instead of constructing unrealistic scenarios about birth parents, get to know them. Do your best to forge a true relationship with them to set the stage for the future. This way you are going to dispel your insecurities, since you are going to see birth parents as real persons with their own weaknesses and strengths, while at the same time being able to set boundaries.
Be Open to Change
One reason why open adoption relationships succeed is because of flexibility. Since relations between adoptive and birth parents evolve and change as time goes by, the initial plan might change. It’s important to remain open-minded. If, for example, the birth mother decides she wants to visit your child more or less often, you will have to think about how that is going to affect the relationship going forward. When changes like this happen, your topmost thought should be how it affects your child. By putting your child’s needs before yours, you will be able to handle the changes and adjustments more easily.
Don’t Bad-mouth Birthparents
No one is perfect, which is why you should never bad-mouth your child’s birth parents. It is important for your child to see his or her birth parents in a positive light. This may be hard depending on circumstances, but how you present them to your child is crucial, since it will have a great impact on their personality.
Maintaining a healthy open adoption is not always easy, but is worth all the effort. When done right, you may find that the relationship you have developed with birth parents can be as fulfilling as the relationship with your child.