Six Tips To Balancing Multiple Birth Families

In the past few years, we’ve learned that balancing two open adoptions can come with challenges, but also great reward.

Shelley Skuster May 12, 2017

We knew we’d adopt more than one child, and we also knew that meant we’d need to learn how to balance multiple birth families because no two adoptions are exactly alike.

In the past few years, we’ve learned that balancing two open adoptions can come with challenges, but also great reward.

Here are six tips for balancing multiple birth families: 


Be Fair
1. Be Fair

There may be different boundaries implemented with different birth families for various reasons, but it’s important to be fair. For example, if you send a handmade gift to one child’s birth family for Christmas, it would be a good idea to consider offering a similar gift for your other child’s birth family.

Extend the Same Respect
2. Extend the Same Respect

Lifestyles and values of birth families may be different than your own, but all birth families are worthy of respect. It’s important to remember your children are not only watching how you interact with their own biological family members but their siblings’ biological family members as well.

Do Your Part
3. Do Your Part

While birth families may live in opposite geographical locations, and it may be more difficult to visit one family over another, it is still your responsibility to do your part in helping your children’s birth families feel included and valued. For example, if one child’s birth family lives a few hours away and you visited them over the holidays, you may want to consider video chatting or even re-working your summer vacation plans to visit your other child’s birth family on the East Coast if the opportunity is available and healthy for all parties involved.

Honor Both Birth Families
4. Honor Both Birth Families

Regardless of the circumstances surrounding the adoption of each child, it is important to honor all birth families. If you proudly display a photograph of one child with his/her birth family in your home, it’s nice to consider doing the same for your other child and his/her birth family as well. When (or if) you have older children, try asking them how they’d like to honor their birth families in your home.

Provide Equal Opportunities
5. Provide Equal Opportunities

When possible, it’s important to consider providing equal opportunities for your children and their birth families to interact. For example, if you send one family a recordable storybook to record their voices for your daughter, it may be worthwhile to consider sending one to your son’s birth family as well. Whether they are each comfortable following through with the gift is not up to you, but you’ve done your part by providing an opportunity to both birth families.

Be Honest
6. Be Honest

As your children get older, they will likely have questions about their birth families. You may not have all the answers, and that’s okay. It is important, though, to be honest with your child and truthful at an age-appropriate level when talking about the circumstances surrounding his/her adoption. If you don’t have an answer to your child’s question, don’t make up something to make it sound like their sibling’s situation. Be honest, even when it’s difficult.

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Shelley Skuster

Shelley is a former award-winning television journalist who traded in suit coats and red lipstick for a messy bun and yoga pants. She's a freelance writer who stays at home with her three daughters who are all ((gasp)) under the age of three and came to her via adoption and birth. She's the woman behind the blog Shelley Writes and she can also be found on facebook and twitter as ShelleySkuster.

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