What are some of the boudaries you've set in your open adoption? Did you actually make up a list of appopriate boundaries(for your family) and if so what are they? Did you ever sit down and discuss those boundaries/expectations with your childrens birth relatives or do you just discuss them when an issue comes up? PLEASE SHARE
I waited a bit when E was a baby and realized I had to sit down and go over my expectations very clearly with her mother or it was not going to work. We have just a few "rules" but they are clear. She can not bring friends or boy friends to any visit, She must be clean and sober or she has to leave, she can spend the night as long as she wants as long as she is clean and sober, she can call anytime she wants up between 9am and 9pm, and she gets to answer any questions E may have about why.
Our situation was difficult in the begining but it is very easy now. Her mother respects the boundaries and very rarely crosses any lines we have all set. She is great at answering E's questions, she always makes her feel loved. We love her mother dearly and she is the first person I call when E does something funny. E calls her 2-3 times per week on her own and she always makes time for her.
Visits are with us and B-mom...only! We have had issues with them inviting every family member in a 50 mile radius and had to put our foot down.
They are not to just stop by our house even though they know where we live. They need to respect our need for our personal space in allowing us our home as a safe haven.
They do not have our phone numbers. We communicate thru letters and e-mails. I just don't feel comfortable having them just call out of the blue.
Right now we are sticking to the adoption agreement as far as visitation. Since the last visit b-mom was e-mailing every week wanting another visit.
I guess what I am saying is that I signed the adoption agreement because I agreed with the terms and I am not ready for more.
How often do you have contact with your childs birthfamily and in what ways?
Are you the one that usually makes all the contact, or are they they one who usually initiates it?
Are all your visits supervised with either you or your husband there? Or do you allow some unsupervised visits?
Do you feel your child is getting all they need/want from the relationship? Or could it be better? How could it be better?
Are there any specific things that would make you lessen contact or cut it off altogether?
We have contact with bio-mom and grandma (who currently live together) and bio-dad. Bmom and gma are much easier to have contact with because they respect our space, accept us as the parents, and have the children's best interst in mind. Once a week or everyother week either they will or we will make phone contact with each other to see how things are going and let them know the girls are doing well or what they are up to. Usually general stuff or something cute or funny that has happened recently. When we do meet in person, it is out in public like at a McDonald's playland or park. (My kids are 2 and almost 3). They know the gma as grandma and they call bmom by her first name. We had been trying to get together about once a month, but recently everyones schedules have been busy and so there hasn't been as much in person contact. I think for now, because of the girls young age and because the adoption was only finalized this past November, the amount of contact has been good. They used to have weekly supervised visits at OCS and the girls have really done well since the adoption building a stronger bond to us. I don't think they remember or realize who bmom is or was to them. It's almost like an aunt or friend of the family. They are friendly towards her and say hi and share bits of toddler information but they don't ask about her or wonder where she is, etc. She is currently parenting the bio baby sister to my girls, so I am sure we will always have a special connection to her.
Bio dad is a completely different story. Two weeks ago was the first time he had a visit with them since last September. He was calling (we have a cell phone that is used just for OCS/birth family) daily, wanting to know when he could see the girls, demanding pictures, harassing the old social worker, her superviser, anyone he could get to listen to him. We repeatedly told him to back off, give us space, he would see the girls again but we were not giving a specific date. We also wanted to make sure he was clean and going to act appropriate. We had a lot of concerns about his behavior based on previous supervised visits, some of which we had supervised while they were still in the foster system. Anyway, we did find out he was clean and really trying to make a difference in his life. My youngest just recently had a birthday, so we agreed to meet bmom, gma, and bdad at a McDonald's playland. We told them we were only staying a half hour, if they wanted to come, we would be there. Bdad was given very specific instructions on how he was to behave and act. He was told not to bring a camera and that he had to be on his best behavior. (Him and pictures is another whole story and can of worms). We were honestly prepared for the worst and ready to grab the kids and leave at a moments notice. Surprisingly, he acted appropriately, kept his distance, did not try to smother or anything like that. He apologized to me personally for some of his previous actions and poor choices. He had a respectable looking person from his church give him a ride and sit in the shadows, kind of like a witness to his actions and behavior. We did not suggest this, but thought it was smart on his part. Since that visit, we have had our lawyer send him a letter letting him know we need our space, he can make further contact through the lawyer's office, and when we feel the time is right, we will contact him regarding future visits and he should use his positive behavior at the last visit as a frame of reference for how to act in the future. He should have received the letter a week ago and we have not had any phone calls since. So, hopefully, things are looking up as far as his behavior and future contact goes.
None of the birth family knows where we live or our home number. As for some of the other questions asked, we will always supervise the visits or have a third party present if down the road we felt necessary. Contact would be cut off for quite some time if inappropriate behavior or drugs usuage were to be present again. Bdad lost a lot of our respect with some of his previous actions so, as we've tried to explain to him, it will take some time to rebuild that trust. As for bmom and gma, they have always done well and as long as that continues, they will be a part of our lives.
How often do you have contact with your childs birthfamily and in what ways?
We have bi-annual visits - in Feb and Aug - we also have letters/photos 6 x/year. We also have occasional e-mails...although it has stopped since I asked b-mom to adhere to the adoption agreement.
Are you the one that usually makes all the contact, or are they they one who usually initiates it?
I am ALWAYS the one who makes contact and initiates it. It is a pretty one sided relationship.
Are all your visits supervised with either you or your husband there? Or do you allow some unsupervised visits?
I would never allow unsupervised visits...b-mom is only 16 and can hardly take care of herself. Because they have (up to now) allowed every family member who wants to attend, it has usually been myself, DH, and our other 2 year old as well.
Do you feel your child is getting all they need/want from the relationship? Or could it be better? How could it be better?
I actually think the whole arrangement is horrible for my son. He was so scared at the last visit that he stood with his nose in the corner for the first 20 minutes and would not come out for even DH or I. Because of that, b-mom was cold and distant. She spent the rest of the visit playing with our other son and pretty much ignored Bear. It would be better if there were not so many people and so overwhelming as we have since requested.
Are there any specific things that would make you lessen contact or cut it off altogether?
Should b-mom get back into her addictions or cut off contact to where we were unable to contact her.
When we first jumped (and i mean LEAPED) into an open adoption we never really talked about boundaries, expectations, etc. Only that we couldn't promise them contact, but we hoped we could always stay in touch.
At the time we fully believed we would be moving out of state as soon as our fd's adoption was complete. (we're talking a matter of months) so basically the contact we did have at first was to help ease the pain the birthfamily was going through. I hoped that we could keep in touch through letters/updates through out the years, so my daughter could develope a relationship with them (she was only 2 1/2 at the time) and always be able to find the answers to her questions.
Well, turned out we didn't move...and now 2 1/2 years later we are still having contact. We've run into a lot of bumps and boulders along the way that we've made it over. It's still difficult at times but it is such a blessing and well wroth the effort. They are wonderful people who do love our daughter deeply. They'd have to to still be sticking around 2 1/2 years later, through all the rough times we've been through.
We've taken our other two childrens birthfamilies contact much much slower (because we learned from the first time what we could handle, and what worked and waht didn't.
We've always had hopes that we would move...but it looks like we will be here for at least the next 4 years and that puts a little twist on things. Making me ponder what our game plan is....(especially now that we have 2 more birthfamileis we are trying to deveope our relationships with). It's almost overwhelming to think of how we could balance theing out and accomodate everyone.
I know I need to address some concerns with my oldest sons birthfamily and my youngest sons as well.. They're not big things, but they do need to be discussed. My problem is that I am so exhausted (from my first experience) that I just don't want to start or cause any problems, I don't want to fight anymore about stuff, I just want to enjoy getting to know them ...but in order to do that I have to set some boundaries....because the things that are happening ARE pushing me away, and if she knew they bothered me I'm sure she'd stop.
Now that we know we will probably be here for at least another 4 years we have to come up with some boundaries, game plan etc. On how we will proceed from here on out. How we can keep up with all these families and in what ways, how often, and that sort of thing.
So that's the reason for all my questions!!
I found that I had to be brutally honest. If it bothered me I would suck it up and just tell her mother. Her mother has told me more than once that she respects my honesty and how she feels she can trust me more than anyone else b/c of that. It is hard, I hate to hurt anyone's feelings but it has helped up out more than I can say.
We have just been told to think about this ourselves. Whether or not we wanted contact (we do not have open adoptions from foster care in our state, it would wholly be up to us), and if so what are we comfortable with.
The SW'ers honest opinion was NOT to have any contact, she even suggested channging our phone number after the adoption is complete just in case.
We are trying to think about it from our childrens' perspective, what would they want?
I am only open to a PO Box and exchanging photos and letters for now. I don't even know if I would share them with the children now, but it would be nice to have in the future and if in the future things are stable with the birthfamily and they have kept in contact then we might try a visit.
My husband is against any contact at all.
I think the children would like to know about their family, especially any siblings but since the birthfamily is already asking about taking us to court for custody in the future, we are not so sure if it is a good idea to have any contact at all especially if they could try and twist it.
But, I'm thinking and reading these posts to gain insight!
We're in the midst of it all, too. With 4 adopted children from 4 different bio families it can get complex. We've maintained contact with foster families, though, as these were the 'family' that the kids even had any inkling of remembering. (We've adopted toddlers who didn't live with bio family prior to being placed with us.)
Interestingly enough, Dh (former foster child) is opposed to contact with bio family due to his experiences. I'm cautiously more open, in theory, but with set boundaries and many hesitations.
For now we don't really have two way contact with bio family.
I keep following these threads and find them encouraging. Thanks for sharing.
This is something we now have to decide upon. What I'm told is that contact is totally up to us and an open adoption would be nice. In the beginning we had a lot of compassion for bd and was willing to do a visit a month but, we decided on not that much contact. BD still has not accepted us as the fp's or accepted the fact that we may be raising his son the rest of his life. We are very uncomfortable with that and once we adopt bd becomes our problem. He's also in contact with friends that I worry that could become a problem when noone else is involved. They were trying to get baby and failed every aspect of background check. Some police charges were stalking and disorderly contact. I was thinking two visits a year with pictures twice a year. My husband wants no visits just photos and letters. If I wouldn't do visits I'd be willing to do phone calls, cell phone. I'm not sure if he would ask for a contact agreement or if in my state its legally binding. I'm not quite sure what to do at this time for contact. Suggestions are welcomed. My ad is the baby's half sibling and I have open adoption with her. There is no binding contract for contact but, I email pictures and letters to maternal grandmother that has four other siblings. We are uneasy about dad because hes so diffrent at times. What should we do?
whatever you do start out SLOW!!! Only increasing contact as time progresses and more trust is built.
Then again it's hard to really build trust if your not in contact enough to give opportunties for it to grow.
It's certianly a hard choice to make.
Our youngest son has a birthfather with a very "scary" record reaching back all the way to his teen years. It's very unlikely he will change and if he does that trust would HAVE TO be built over the years very slowely. It's one thing to have a relationship with a relatively healthy person. But to try and build one with an individual that is very unpredicatable and (proven) in the past to be very dangerous and unstable. That's just not someone I want to mess around with. I wouldn't want our relationship to be based on fear and trying to keep him happy for fear of him becoming angry with us over something. I couldn't trust that he would act in an appropriate mannor not with his history. So we have chosen not to even go there.
I absolutely love birthfathers mother. She and I became close freinds during my fs's case. We'd sit and talk during each visit and she and i got along wonderfully. Unfortunately I've had to put that relationship on hold a bit, because shortly after the TPR the birthfather got out of jail and went to stay with his mother. Even though i loved and trusted the grandmother...that changed everything in our relationhsip. Now I have to build that trust all over that birthfather is out and in such close contact with her.
So these decisions ARE very hard. Only you know your situation and the people involved and I'm sure you will make the best decision possible.