A Guide to Communication in an Open Adoption

Here are six ways for biological and adoptive families to communicate in an open adoption:

Shelley Skuster April 09, 2015

An open adoption allows adoptees to know facts about their first family and in many cases gives them the opportunity to maintain a healthy relationship with their biological relatives. Open adoption is different for every family, but it involves some sort of communication between adoptive and biological families. The ability to communicate smooths the gaps between birth and adoptive families. When we communicate, we find that our differences fade away compared to our similarities. When we communicate, we open doors to full hearts and clear minds.

Social workers recommend starting a relationship according to what kinds of contact all parties are comfortable with and setting a guideline of how frequently families communicate. Setting up the level of communication at the beginning of this relationship means better communication down the road for biological/adoptive families. When both parties feel comfortable with their ability to communicate their problems and concerns all sorts of doors open. If either the biological family or the adoptive family feels uncomfortable with their ability to communicate, the relationship suffers right from the start. That is why creating guidelines on how to communicate from the start makes all the difference.

Here are six ways for biological and adoptive families to communicate in an open adoption:

6 Ways to Communicate in an Open Adoption
1. 6 Ways to Communicate in an Open Adoption

Some families find communicating through text messages convenient, especially with photo and video sharing. Experts recommend keeping the child’s best interest in mind when deciding how often to communicate.

Social Media
2. Social Media

Social media has made it easy for people to stay in touch. Experts recommend using caution when accepting friend requests on social media. Some families opt to maintain a private page to share photos, videos, and messages on.

3. Email

For families who are computer-savvy, creating a unique email address for communication can be a great way to keep in touch. Using email allows for more privacy for adoptive and birth families and also gives older adoptees a convenient way to communicate with their first family online.

Phone Calls
4. Phone Calls

Talking on the phone seems a bit archaic at times, but hearing someone’s voice is irreplaceable, especially for an adoptee talking to his or her first family. Social workers recommend setting up phone calls between birth and adoptive families ahead of time to allow both parties to plan time around them.

5. Visits

Depending on distance and comfort level, adoptive and birth families can coordinate visits. Visitation can allow adoptees an opportunity to keep a physical bond with their first family.

6. Agency/Attorney

Some agencies and attorneys recommend communication between birth and adoptive families be done through them. For various reasons, it may be suitable for parties to send photos, letters, and other materials via a third party.

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Shelley Skuster

Shelley is a former award-winning television journalist who traded in suit coats and red lipstick for a messy bun and yoga pants. She's a freelance writer who stays at home with her three daughters who are all ((gasp)) under the age of three and came to her via adoption and birth. She's the woman behind the blog Shelley Writes and she can also be found on facebook and twitter as ShelleySkuster.

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