Historically, adoptions were secret arrangements that were filled with confidentiality. The birth parents and adoptive parents didn’t know each other. The child was left with many questions about their birth family until they became an adult and could search for them. This type of arrangement is now called a closed adoption.
These days, the vast majority of voluntary adoptions are open adoptions. These provide more opportunity for the birth parents to keep track of how the child is doing. It also benefits the adoptive family because they can find out more information about the birth family when it is necessary.
An open adoption can take some getting used to, especially as the child ages. Here are some tips that might help you.
Set the expectations early
Setting the expectations early in an open adoption can be done while the expectant mother is pregnant. This is the time when you can set up the plan for communication during the pregnancy and after the birth.
Learning to communicate with one another effectively is key to building a long term relationship. Finding common interests early on can be an easy way to start the communication. This provide a foundation for later conversations that can be more serious and complex.
Communication styles can also vary – some people are intimated by the process and may prefer not to talk over the phone as much as they would text or email. You simply need to find what works best to build the relationship. Typically, the more you communicate, the more comfortable everyone will become.
Discuss the matter with loved ones
Whether you are a potential adoptive parent or an expectant parent considering adoption, you should communicate your adoption decision with your family and friends. You do not need to seek their approval or advise, but it is important to communicate your adoption plan so that they understand your decision. These are also the people you will lean on in the future for support. These individuals are your confidantes and can help you with any emotional needs you may have.
Flexibility is important when you have an open adoption. For example, there may be times when schedules change and you or the birth parents cannot make a pre-planned meeting or communicate on a typical schedule. Being flexible and understanding benefits everyone. As the child grows, they will come to realize that things might happen and plans might change, but how you handle it is what matters.
Being flexible is also beneficial for both sets of parents because they know that there is a good working relationship. This can make everyone as comfortable as possible throughout the child’s life, which will translate into a positive support system for the child.
Plan for disagreements
There are bound to be disagreements between both sets of parents. People tend to disagree when they do not understand each other. Don’t let this impact the open lines of communication. It’s important to be a good listener and to make sure that every parent is heard. Part of being a good listener is being opening minded and nonjudgmental. If you can bring positivity to what you are trying to say, its far more likely that you will be heard, and that the disagreement can be resolved quickly and easily.
If you are a potential adoptive parent or an expectant parent considering adoption, Gulf Coast Adoptions is ready to work with you. Please call our adoption consultants at 850-999-7977 to learn more about our services and what we can do to help.