Have you ever been in a long distance relationship? Maybe you live in California and your best friend moved to Indiana, or Texas. Do you have family that lives miles upon miles away and you only get to see them every now and then? When you care about someone, even when they’re far away or not always readily available, it takes a lot to nurture a relationship and keep it strong. In adoption, even if it’s wide open, distance can still keep birth parents from forging strong relationships with their children. Luckily, there are many ways to foster a relationship with a birth child.
When I was choosing a family for my son, I was blessed to find the family he needed to be with, and they only lived an hour away. We both knew we wanted an open adoption, so it was the perfect set up! But what I didn’t think of was life after placement. With work, school, and a family, on top of busy schedules, I only get to see my son once every couple of months. Though I’m grateful for any time I get to spend with him, it can be a challenge to really build and maintain a relationship. But that doesn’t stop me from doing my best to build a relationship with him.
The first thing I did to start a relationship with my son was forge a relationship with his parents while I was pregnant. Both his mom and dad are amazing people, so that came naturally to us, but it’s not easy for everyone. If you can have a close relationship with your child’s parents, they’ll be more willing to work with you.
Keep Up With Your Child’s Life
Next, I kept up with his advancements with emails, phone calls, texts, and social media. Being able to see how he’s growing and maturing helps me see who he is and who he’s becoming. If you can do something as simple as see pictures of your child on Facebook, you can figure out what they like by his or her clothing, toys, bedding, art projects, etc. The next time you see your child, you can bring those things up. This shows that you’re taking an interest in his or her interests.
His Or Her Interests Should Be Yours
I also found out what he likes to do when we spend time together. Instead of planning things I want to do with him, I let him choose. Many times, he wants to do fun activities that he enjoys doing at home. If you spend your time with your child doing what he or she likes to do, it will create memories tied to things your child already enjoys. This will associate happy moments with you even when your child isn’t with you.
Something else that really assists in keeping our relationship strong is involving extended birth family. I recognize that this is not something everyone can have; not all birth mothers are blessed with support from their families. But if you can incorporate more family, there will only be more love.
The most important thing that I do is tell him I love him every chance I get. I often joke with friends and family that I tell them I love them often because I don’t want them to forget. However, with my son, I truly don’t want him to forget that I love him just because I don’t see him very often. If you are able to instill in your child with your words and deeds that you love him or her, then your relationship will be unbreakable.