Every adoption experience will be as different as the individuals involved. This is a healthy and natural fact, one that should be embraced. While there is no script that fits all situations, there are general guidelines and helpful tips that can help facilitate a positive relationship between birth and adoptive parents. The truth is, each parent has a connection to the child and by sharing the child, become part of each other’s lives. Some birth parents are uninvolved in their baby’s life after they become the adoptive parents’ child. Some are more than willing to be involved in the child’s life, while others appreciate updates, but choose to keep relationships to a minimum. Whatever your journey looks like is normal and beautiful. In today’s post, we will offer some tips to facilitate a healthy relationship between birth and adoptive parents.
Tips For Healthy Ways For Adoptive Parents to Interact With Birth Parents
Depending on the relationship you choose to have with the birth parents or how involved they choose to be will dictate interactions. Some birth parents may want occasional updates while others may be actively involved, and others yet may never speak to you once the adoption takes place. These are important things to consider before the adoption is complete.
- Honor the fact that the birth mom will always hold a place in your child’s heart, and that doesn’t take away from their relationship with you.
- Establish clear and explicit boundaries and expectations.
- Send them updates, photos or developmental achievements.
- Continue counseling for all parties and even group counseling to ensure healthy relationships are maintained.
- Invite your child’s birth mom to important events: birthday parties, graduation, sports events etc. even if they don’t or won’t attend.
- Speak kindly and positively to your child about his or her birth mom.
- Talk freely and openly about the adoption, remind your child that it is okay to love their birth mom.
- Remind the birth mother that they made the right decision and you do not judge them for it.
- Be honest and open and don’t go beyond your comfort.
- Ask the birth mom for advice if you have a question regarding the customs of the child’s culture and ethnicity.
- Spend time connecting parent-to-parent.
- Thank the birth parents for making an effort to maintain a relationship with their child and remain open about facilitating connections – whatever that may look like for your family.
- Consider attending support groups for adopted children and their families.
If the birth parents are not involved or you do not want the birth parents to have direct contact with the child, you can still update them as you feel comfortable and remember to speak well of them to your child. Above all, remember that these relationships may be delicate and complicated and may change over time.
Tips For Interactions to Avoid With Birth Parents
While facilitating healthy relationships between birth and adoptive parents is a good idea, there are positive and negative ways to go about it. Some “don’ts” for interacting with the birth parents should include:
- Don’t communicate with the birth parents more than your child is comfortable with. If you want to keep them updated, you can do so without including the child. Remember to consider your child’s feelings and they may not be emotionally ready for the relationship or continuing it.
- Don’t share more time or information than you are comfortable with.
- If the birth parents aren’t comfortable with a relationship, don’t push it.
- Don’t push beyond anyone’s boundaries.
- Don’t use the birth parents as babysitters.
Each relationship is different and each adoption journey looks different, so it is important not to compare your situation to anyone else’s. For those families who adopt through AIM Adoptions, we have the resources and connection to help facilitate healthy relationships. We offer family events and can act as mediators to ensure you maintain healthy boundaries. Connect with us to learn more about adopting a child in Texas today!