One of the most common questions we get from birth mothers is “how do open adoptions work?” It’s an important question when you’re placing your baby for adoption, or even considering placing your baby.
Open adoptions allow the birth parents to stay in contact with the adoptive families, which helps many birth mothers feel more secure in their decision to place their child. They’re able to see their child grow up and know that their baby is part of a loving, giving family.
Most importantly, open adoptions are built on mutual respect and trust. As a birth mother, you’re trusting that the family you choose for your baby will love and take care of him or her. The adoptive parents trust that you love your child and will be able to be there if you’re needed.
If you’re considering placing your child in an open adoption, don’t hesitate to call us. We’d love to talk to you and explain every part of the process in detail… But in the meantime, we wanted to share some helpful tips on our blog that will ensure that the open adoption is a healthy relationship for everyone involved.
1. Understand and respect boundaries
It’s incredibly important to establish and maintain boundaries in an open adoption. Even if you named your baby before placing, you should always call the child by the name the adoptive parents have chosen. You should refer to yourself by your first name, or by whatever title you’ve agreed on with the adoptive parents. This helps your child understand the roles played by both the adoptive parents and you.
Be open with the adoptive parents about how the visits make you feel. It’s normal for your feelings to change as time goes by, and communication is key to a successful open adoption relationship. Don’t be afraid to ask for some time or space to grieve or just to take a break if you need it.
2. The adoptive parents are the parents
The adoptive parents are the ones raising your child, and you need to respect the fact that they’ll be making all the the decisions after placement. Even if you don’t agree with their decisions or style of parenting, it’s not your place to suggest how something should be handled. You trusted them enough to place your baby with them, so trust that they’ll make the best decisions for your baby.
3. Maintain contact
You’ll be part of the open adoption relationship for years to come, so it’s important to maintain regular contact. It’s a bit more difficult in the beginning… A new baby is always an adjustment, so don’t be offended if you call and the adoptive parents say that it’s not a good time. As time goes by, it’s easy to establish a regular schedule for calls, emails, or visits.
4. Plan your visits
Advance planning is key to successful visits. Leave early so you won’t be late – and if something comes up and you’re going to be late, be sure to call and let everyone know. If you plan ahead, you can agree on how long the visit will be. Obviously, you want to spend time with your child, but you don’t want to tire them out or take too much time away from the adoptive family’s schedule. It’s a good idea to chat with the adoptive parents at the end of the visit to schedule the next time you’ll be talking to them so that everyone is on the same page.
5. Be open and ask for help if you need it
If you’re ever confused or not sure how to proceed in your open adoption relationship, it’s vital that you’re open with the adoptive parents. Tell them how you’re feeling or why you’re confused. We’re here to help as well! You can always call Lifetree with any questions, and we can help you with questions or conversations you want to have with the adoptive families.
If you have any questions about your open adoption, or if you’re considering placing your child, you can call us any time, 24 hours a day, at 972-491-3333. We’re here to help!