4 Tips for Handling Multiple Birth Parent Relationships

Guidance from a birth mom.

Annaleece Merrill June 01, 2016
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Handling birth parent relationships in one open adoption is hard enough. When there are two or more, there are guaranteed to be some tricky situations. Here are four tips from a birth mom to help you navigate the craziness of multiple birth parent relationships.

1. Communicate.

Your child’s birth parents deserve to know what is going on. Is there a likelihood of you adopting another child, bringing more birth parents into the picture? How will this affect them? Will their level of openness change? Will they meet these other birth parents? We trusted you to raise our children, meaning we have a deep respect for you. Please respect us the same way and communicate with us. This may lead to some hard conversations, but I can guarantee you that it will be harder if we feel left in the dark.

It’s also important to talk about the dynamic between the birth parents of your child. If both are involved, would they prefer to visit together or separately? Would everyone be able to enjoy attending a birthday party together? These answers can change, so it’s important to keep that line of communication open in order for everyone to feel comfortable.

2. Reassure us.

I am the newest birth mother in Baby R’s family. I needed reassurance that I would be just as important as her brother’s birth mom, and she needed reassurance that she would not be forgotten. Make sure we know we are loved, and everything else will work itself out.

3. Understand our needs. 

Maybe one child’s birth father needs lots of phone calls and in-person visits. Another child’s birth mom might prefer only photos every six months. Yes, we all chose to place with you, but we likely have very different needs. It’s stressful to try to remember everyone’s needs, especially if many of them would like in-person visits. Something that has worked for our busy family is for us birth parents to all be invited to family functions. That way we can all visit at one time with you, our birth children, and each other.

4. Don’t hide us from each other. 

Knowing the other birth parents who have placed with the same family I did has been a great support for me. I always know that if I am having a hard time, the only other birth mom in the world who knows exactly what I am talking about is just a text away. We share a sisterhood that I can’t explain, and I wouldn’t trade that for the world.

There is a concern that there might be some jealousy or contention between birth parents. That is valid. Please trust us to handle it maturely. I know that in my experience, we don’t nitpick or compare who is getting more visits or photos. We’re not looking to start arguments with the adoptive parents. We just have fun together, care about each other, and love each other’s birth kids.

It is totally possible to maintain good relationships with all of your children’s birth parents. There will be ups and downs, and that is okay. We are all only human and we make mistakes. Above all else, remember that we are all family, and families stick together.

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Annaleece Merrill

Annaleece Merrill is a birth mother to the cutest little girl on earth. She loves being an advocate for open adoption by writing, mentoring, and speaking at adoption panels. She attends Utah State University in Logan, Utah.


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