Being a part of an open adoption doesn’t just mean having a relationship with your birth child. It means having a relationship with their adoptive family as well! Building a bond with them can be a very rewarding experience. Here are a few tips to get you started.

1. Get to know each other

Before and after placement, getting to know your birth child’s parents is important. Ask them about work, church, or their last family vacation. Talk to them like you would any other friend. When I visit my birth daughter, I always catch up her adoptive parents on my life – school, work, dating, you name it. Showing an interest in each other and not focusing solely on your birth child will make everyone feel more comfortable. You might even find that they become some of your best friends.

2. Pay attention to the siblings

If your birth child has siblings, you are important in their lives too. Little R’s big brother is one of my very favorite kids. We play together and he knows that I love him as well as his sister. If you give your child a gift, get the other kids gifts as well. They need to know they are important to you too.

3. Respect Boundaries

When you signed your adoption papers, you agreed to give your parental rights to someone else. You don’t call the shots, and it’s important to respect that.They are the parents, and you are the birth mom. Those are two equally important but very different roles. Respecting their boundaries and decisions will help the adoptive parents feel respected and secure in their roles. That security will make them more comfortable with you.

4. Don’t stress too much

Adoptive parents are just human beings, as flawed and awkward as you are. They’re not so different, and they are probably feeling all the things you are feeling. Don’t be intimidated, it’s okay if it’s uncomfortable for awhile. Think of them as extended family. If you patiently put effort into your relationship with your birth child’s family, you will be rewarded.

All relationships take work, and every relationship is different. Find what works for you. That will change and evolve over time, but it will happen naturally. If both birth and adoptive parents put the adoptee first, and remember that adoption is about love, you can have a wonderful open adoption relationship.