After the adoption is finalized, if the adoption agreement was open in any way, the birth parent is able to have some access to communication with the adoptive family and child. While it can be hard to navigate the relationship, especially in the beginning, it is important to have patience and to recognize the value of the relationship for both yourself and your child. Remember, both parties want what’s best for the child and that this relationship is one of working together rather than not. Remember, the first step to building a successful relationship is to refrain from judgment. Instead, it is important to remember the value and positive attributes of each individual. Below are some tips to help maintain a positive relationship:
- Set up boundaries – In order to maintain a healthy relationship, it is important to set up boundaries so that no emotions can be hurt in the future. While this is difficult, it is important that everyone is on the same page and agrees on how to manage the relationship. This will help everyone to maintain emotional boundaries.
- Set up a form of communication – Depending on the adoption agreement, it is important to determine a method for communication between birth parents and adoptive parents. There are many ways of communication, so it is important to determine which one is best for your family. Many adoptive parents correspond with birth parents via letters, emails, phone calls, skype/facetime sessions, or in-person visits. Depending on the openness of the adoption, and how the agreement is structured, birth parents may use one or all of these methods in order to communicate. It is important to decide which way is best for your family and how you want to maintain this relationship.
- Get to Know Each Other – It is important to get to know the birth parent and establish a good relationship. Being able to maintain a healthy relationship is a valuable step to creating a close bond with the birth parents. Understanding the unique bond you share allows you to grow closer and embrace each other. This creates mutual respect that will help with relations in the future.
- Consider them as Family – It is not only important to establish a good relationship, but if the birth and adoptive parents are on good terms, being able to view them as family will help create a strong bond. Viewing each other in this way can help create a positive environment for the child to grow with both his or her biological and adoptive parents. In this relationship, both the birth parents and adoptive parents are working together to achieve what is best for the child and it is important to honor the integrity of each individual.
- Uphold your promises – In order to ensure a lasting relationship, it is important to respect the dignity of each party involved by upholding the promises you make. If you decide to meet or to contact the child or family, make sure that you stick to these promises. If the adoptive family agrees on an agreement with the birth parents it is important to follow through. This is the main way to establish trust and build a relationship.
Ultimately, maintaining a positive relationship involves a lot of trust and mutual respect for both parties involved. It is important to remain non-judgmental and acknowledge the positive attributes of both the birth parents and adoptive parents. Knowing that everyone is bonded by a shared situation, and respecting that everyone is part of a family allows people to develop strong bonds that will allow the child to grow in a comfortable and loving environment.
Berry, Mike. “5 Critical steps to successfully relating to birth parents.” Confessions of an Adoptive Parent, 14 Nov. 2014, https://confessionsofanadoptiveparent.com/5-critical-steps-to-successfully-relating-to-birth-parents/
“Maintaining a relationship with your child’s birth family.” American Adoptions Blog, Jan 17 2017, https://www.americanadoptions.com/blog/maintaining-a-relationship-with-your-childs-birth-family.
“Relationships with your birth parents.” Considering Adoption, American Adoptions, https://www.consideringadoption.com/adopted/adoptee-relationships/birth-parent-relationships.
Julianna McKenna is a college student at Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Indiana double majoring in English Writing and Psychology. She is passionate about adoption and foster care and is considering a career in adoption law or counseling. In January 2019, Julianna became an intern for Adoption Choices of Kansas, Inc. She is incredibly dedicated to promoting children’s rights and is excited to research and advocate for children.