How to Bring up Concerns in Your Open Adoption Without Being Confrontational

Silence does not fix an issue. But neither does an attack.

Meghan Rivard January 02, 2018
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Open adoption is a fairly new approach in our society, and if you are not part of the adoption community, the concept of it may be hard to grasp.

Open adoption is when an adopted person has some sort of relationship with their biological family. There are no “set” conditions and there can be many variables. Open adoption can look different for everyone; some may have a semi-open adoption and just share pictures and updates. Others might have a more “open” adoption and have visits with the biological family. Open adoption takes into account everyone in the adoption triad, but the most important focus and relationships of the triad need to stay focused on the adopted child.

But what if a situation arises that you need to bring up, a topic that may not be positive? How do you bring up a concern in your open adoption without being confrontational?

First, anything that I need to address needs to be said without criticism, without attacking. It is important to state your concerns in a positive manner, emphasizing that you are bringing this concern up because you care about the relationship.

Another thing: do not be afraid to say something if you have a concern. Silence does not fix an issue. My husband and I have an open adoption with our daughter’s biological mother and her two sons, who are our daughter’s half-brothers. Initially, our relationship was rocky, as she was dealing with a lot of grief and emotions. I will admit that I do not like confrontation, so I had a hard time expressing anything to her that we thought was concerning. But we have come so far in over 4 years and now have a great relationship with her.

Lastly, I would say to surround yourself with an adoptive community. That is important because if you do have a concern, an issue you need to address with the biological mother/father, you can bounce ideas off of your support system.  They may be able to give you advice and make the picture clearer since they are not emotionally involved. It is important to gather yourself around people who “get it” and they can be a wonderful resource for you and your family’s open adoption. 

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Meghan Rivard

Meghan is an adoptive mother and a big advocate of adoption and foster care. She resides in Indiana with her husband, their one-year-old daughter who is the center of their lives, and their dog Max. She has a Bachelor's and Master’s Degree in Social Work. Meghan stays at home with her daughter but is so happy she found this outlet to share her personal adoption story and educate about adoption!

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