We have an open adoption. Our agency requires we write our birth mom once a month for the first six months, and then twice a year after adoption finalization. Our communication is expected to stay open as long as it is in the best interest of the child. Here’s what to say in certain situations.
In talking to some adoptive families, I discovered many people stay in contact with their child’s birth families until that child is 18. Some maintain contact for even longer! Each family expressed how much they loved having a relationship with their child’s birth family. They believed it helped the healing process and allowed the children to accept their adoption more easily.
When we had to write to our daughter’s birth mom after placement, I had no idea what to say. I thought if I told her too much it would only make her grief worse. I was afraid the grief would be too overwhelming and she would want the baby back. If I told her how wonderful her baby was and how she was such an easy baby, would that make her think she made the wrong decision? Because of those thoughts, it took me a long time to write that first letter. Finally, after I worked through my issues, I decided to write what I would want to read about. As a parent.
Our first letter included how much our daughter weighed, how long she was, her sleeping habits, funny things she would do, any notes from the doctor, and just how wonderful she was. We also continued to express how thankful we were for her decision. I wanted our birth mom to know how much she was appreciated and loved.
After we wrote the first letter, the following letters became easier. I encourage you to only write positive thoughts. Don’t tell the birth mom you are only getting a couple of hours of sleep and that you are exhausted! Of course, you are exhausted. You have a new baby.
Acknowledge the birth mom’s grief. I believe it is okay to tell her how sorry you are for her loss and that you are thinking of her. Include a fun activity you did as a family, such as getting newborn photos. You can also share how much you love being a new parent and how much you love the child.
We would also include questions or concerns that would arise. I remember when I started my daughter on solids, I didn’t know if her birth parents had food allergies. Within a couple of letters, we were able to get our questions answered. We cannot do that with our son because we do not have open communication with his birth parents.
It’s the little things you may not think about. For example: ask when the birth parents started to walk or talk, or if they liked a certain sport. Open communication allows for your questions and concerns to be answered. Not only for you but for the birth parents too.
Having open communication helps create a lifelong relationship between the adoptive family and the birth parents. This is something your child will appreciate! When your child gets older and adoption issues arise, it will be helpful that you have a relationship with their birth family. My hope for our daughter is that the open relationship will make her feel more secure about being adopted. We also want her to know how much we love her birth parents and how much we appreciate them.
Are you ready to pursue adoption? Visit Adoption.org or call 1-800-ADOPT-98 to connect with compassionate, nonjudgmental adoption specialists who can help you get started on the journey of a lifetime.