More and more, birthparents and adopting families are choosing open adoption. This is the type of adoption allows all the members of the adoption triad the chance to build and strengthen a relationship. Sometimes the relationship involves more than just letters and photos, and entails regular visits with the family.
This type of communication can provide the child with a deeper sense of identity. The questions such as, “Who do I look like the most? Why was I placed for adoption? Where do I get my musical talent or my abilities in sports?” can be more readily answered. The child does not need to fantasize or wonder about his birth family nor feel the need to search for his roots. Parents can also have more than the basic medical history, something that can be potentially vital to the child’s future health. The child can also have a wider family circle, which can encompass not just the birthparents, but also biological grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.
However, open adoption does have its own set of challenges that will require the cooperation of the birthparents and the parents. They may also turn to A Act of Love Adoptions for additional training and counseling, especially during the first few months after the placement has been made.
Here are some issues that may need to be threshed out in an open adoption relationship:
Expectations. It can be helpful to discuss the open adoption relationship and your expectations with regards to how it will work for both the birthparents and the parents. Clarify the roles each will have and when the visits will be (i.e. what occasions – Christmas or the day before Christmas, birthdays, etc.). To respect boundaries for both the parents and birthparents, you can agree to call before a visit.
Relating to one another. Some basic issues that the parents and birthparents should discuss will be how they relate to each other, especially during the visits. This can include how they will celebrate holidays, what the child should call the birthparents and how involved the birthparents and the biological family (birth grandparents, uncles, aunts or cousins) will be.
Respect of roles. It must be clear from the onset that it is the parents who will take an active role in parenting – this includes making decisions for the child and disciplining the child. Birthparents need to respect this distinction between their roles.
Openness to change and to communicate. Even with expectations set at the start of the placement as facilitated by A Act of Love, it is also important to recognize that the details of the relationship can change over the years. The birthparents may desire to move on and start their own families and limit the visits or stop them altogether. The family or the birthparents may move or transfer jobs. During these changes, as well as when issues crop up, it is important that parents and birthparents are willing to work towards positive change. This can work with open communication – so that both are aware of what the other is going through emotionally.
Ensuring the child’s safety. It is imperative that the child’s physical and emotional safety be the first priority. The child’s safety is paramount and it is important to plan ahead to ensure the child is safe.
More than one set of birthparents. If the parents have adopted two or more children from different birthparents, this can mean relating to these birthparents, if they all opt for an open adoption relationship. It is important to recognize that the relationships with the different birthparents may differ. The parents need to manage the effect this difference may have on the children. One child may feel deprived if his birthparents do not get as involved with the family as the other birthparents. One important step is to help the children recognize that the experiences will be different.
Contact Act of Love today to learn more about open adoptions. Call 24/7 at 800-835-6360 or text to 801-450-0094. During office hours the AOL staff can be reached at 801-572-1696. Private appointments can be scheduled, along with a monthly adoption orientation the first Tuesday of each month. Personal references available and testimonials at www.aactofloveadoptions.com.