When we adopted our daughter the agency gave us some very firm post-placement communication rules: Pictures and a letter the next day, the next week, every other week for a month, and then once a month until finalization. But if you don’t have any guidelines you may find yourself wondering when is too soon to contact your child’s first parents? A lot of adoptive parents I know feel torn between desperately wanting to share every second with their baby’s birth mom, and hyper-aware that she is grieving and mourning and they don’t want to make anything harder for her.  Here are some tips for walking that fine line.

- ASK. Seriously. Ask the bio parents when they want to see and hear from you. Most of the birth parents I know wanted to see their baby’s new life pretty soon after placement. A handful felt like they needed a few weeks to process their emotions before seeing baby again—but all eventually wanted contact.

- Consider setting up a private Facebook page or email account where you post letters and pictures that only you and Mom and Dad have access to. You can keep posting but they don’t have to look until they are ready.

- Actual mail makes a huge difference. While we all love having photos at the ready on our phone, consider sending letters and pictures in the mail every few times—there is something about having a tangible package that shows you care. (And when baby is a toddler, throw some of her scribbles in there too!)

- Try out a subscription photo book service. There are lots of cool businesses that will automatically print and ship your photos from Instagram and Facebook. Create a hashtag specifically for images you want to share with bio mom and dad and have the service send them a book every time you fill up the pages.

- Remember: This is not about YOU. Respect the wishes of your child’s first family. Make the time to send letters and text pictures and post wishes. You are busy with a new baby, for sure, but they are the ones who made your life possible. Don’t put them on the back burner.