Hopeful Adoptive Parents
As you’ve considered the possibility of adoption, talked with other adoptive parents, and researched on your own, you’ve probably heard the term “open adoption.” Open adoption is a reference to the communication that occurs after placement between the birth parents, the adoptive parents, and the adoptee. There are varying degrees of openness in an adoption, from completely open (all members of the adoption triad have regular and frequent interaction with each other) to completely closed (no communication and no information is exchanged) and everything in between. Regardless of the degree of openness, it is essential that there is agreement between the birth parents and the adoptive parents before placement and that all parties are committed to honor their agreements.
In preparation to negotiate the degree of openness in your adoption with your child’s birth mother, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I want my child to have access to their biological family, including medical information?
- Am I willing to help my child understand his/her relationship to the birth parents?
- Do I want my child to know what his/her birth parents look like, where they live, how they live?
- Do I want my child to have a full-on relationship with his/her birth parent(s)?
- How do I think visits with or communication with my child’s birth parents will affect him/her?
- Am I willing to work through questions he/she may have because of an open relationship?
- Would I want my child to have unanswered questions because of not enough openness?
- How often and in what way am I willing to share updates about my child with the birth family?
- Do I want a relationship between myself and my child’s birth parents? Would that benefit my child?
- What will I do if my child becomes uncomfortable with the relationship with his/her birth parents?
- Do I need a mediator to help with the relationship?
- How will I help my child if his/her birth parent doesn’t follow through with the agreements?
- Am I willing to keep my promises regarding the openness we agree upon?
As you consider these question, more may come to mind. This will help you construct your ideal relationship between your family and your child’s birth family. Your Adoption California Professional can help you create your ideal and negotiate with your child’s birth parent(s) so that you are all in comfortable agreement. Be sure to not agree to anything you are uncomfortable with or don’t plan to follow through on. Bear in mind that openness agreements are signed by a judge when your adoption is finalized and are legally enforceable, though failing to comply will not invalidate an adoption.
Adoptees who have experienced an open adoption have felt more comfortable with their identity, have had fewer questions, have felt more secure, and have had the access to their birth family’s medical histories. There is great value in healthy open adoptions. Just like any relationship, the relationship with your child’s birth mother will require some work. There will be ups and downs as well as misunderstandings along the way. See these for what they are and work hard to resolve them, for the good of your child. Remember that everyone involved in the open adoption has a great deal of love for your child. Approaching problems with love in mind will help resolutions come easier. And very often in an open adoption, a strong bond between birth mothers and adoptive parents is the result. Love is the glue that binds the relationship!
This content is for informational purposes only, should not be considered or relied upon as legal advice, and is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship.