What To Do If Your Child Doesn’t Want To Know His Or Her Birth Family

The adoption trend for the past decade or more has been open adoption. Unless one has been in a special situation where it was obviously safest for the child to have the adoption closed, it may seem hard to understand how any adoption that isn’t open could be good. But if we can set judgment aside for a minute and just accept that some adoptions are open and some are closed, we can then move toward understanding children who prefer no contact with birth families. Whatever degree of openness exists in your adoption situation, you may be faced, at some point, with your child resisting any association with his/her birth family. So what do you do?

OPEN COMMUNICATION is essential. Invite your child to share feelings, thoughts, fears and to ask questions. Whether your child’s thoughts are realistic or not, acknowledge that you really hear what your child is saying. Because, however outlandish, it is real to your child.

DON’T RUSH THINGS. If it is important to you or the birth family, or if you have an agreement you’re obligated to keep, you may feel some pressure, on yourself, to make connecting happen. But if you force it, your child may resist further and it will do no good for any of the relationships. So consider contacting the birth parents and openly share the situation. After all, you all want what’s best for the child, right?

OFFER ENCOURAGEMENT. Your child may just need more information about adoption; or maybe s/he needs extra attention. Give your child positive feedback, lots of hugs, and honest attention. Observe your child with the idea in mind that you will find out what needs are most pressing. And all along the way, encourage your child in all that they do.

TRUST your instincts as you gauge appropriate actions to help your child. As a parent, you’re blessed with intuition and with unique understanding about your child. When putting your child first, trust that what you think really is right. This will help you in all aspects of parenting, but specifically as you work toward helping your child with relationships with birth family members, or with waiting to forge connections.

Adoption is a beautiful journey! Part of the beauty is extended relationships. But it must come at the right time for your child to fully benefit.