While open adoption and future contact comes easy to some birth parents, others need some space after placement or initially desire a closed adoption. As adoptive parents, you want to honor those wishes, but it is important to not think that there will never be contact or no need for updates if your child’s birth parent hasn’t received her last one. Many birth parents feel more comfortable about contact and receiving updates after a few years. You and your child should be ready for this sudden or unexpected new desire for contact. But how do you prepare? The steps can be quite easy:
Even when your child’s birth parent asks for a closed adoption or chooses not to have visits, make sure you are still open for that contact and continue to send your updates whether or not they are being picked up. Talk with your child about their adoption story and prepare them for potential visits from the start. This makes the transition to a visit a lot easier. This also helps us as adoption counselors. When a birth parent comes to the office asking for her updates, we can simply go to our file room and grab them for her. There is no need to call you to prepare an update covering the past 3-4 years.
Continue to encourage and reaffirm your commitment to your child’s birth parent by inviting them to the agency picnic, fall festival, or other AFTH event every year. Even if they do not attend, ensure they know you are open for it.
Discuss with your child the difficult emotions their birth parent may be experiencing so they can have a better understanding of the situation. Adoption is hard but being honest can help you navigate this journey.
As Heraclitus, a Greek Philosopher, said: “Change is the only constant in life”. We must be prepared for things to evolve. This includes the relationship with your child’s birth parent including your child’s birth father. He may not have been involved in the initial adoption planning but would now like contact with your child. If you haven’t already spoken with your child about their birth father as well as their birth mother, you will be faced with introducing a new component of the adoption triad. Instead, talk with your child about both of their birth parents from the start.