When prospective adoptive parents are considering adoption, they have the opportunity to choose the level of openness they are comfortable with when raising their adopted child. As they explore the pros and cons of open and closed adoption arrangements, most find themselves somewhere in the middle. One of the fears with an open adoption, specifically, is that the birth parents will try and reclaim their child at some point. Truthfully, there is an uncertainty once the child is born; but, depending on what state the birth mother lives, birth mothers cannot revoke their adoption agreement after judicial consent in non-ICWA cases.
Open adoptions seem to be taking more and more precedence in the adoption world today, so it’s important for both birth parents and adoptive parents to know all is involved. For details specific to your own circumstances, be sure to consult with your adoption agency or lawyer. They will be able to offer you the best legal counsel. To learn more about having a successful open adoption, read on.
Secret #1: Acknowledge Your Feelings
Emotions are as powerful as they are tricky. They drive how we think, feel and act. When considering open adoption, it’s important to reflect on how we truly feel. Birth parents and adoptive parents alike deal with emotions throughout the adoption process. It’s essential to remember this, as it can easily become overlooked in the fray of paperwork and court proceedings.
Because both parties will be involved in each other’s’ lives, and the child’s life, for the foreseeable future, it’s crucial to be transparent and have clear communication. This not only creates a healthy relationship, but it also ensures a smoother adoption process and transition afterwards. Maintaining a positive outlook and attitude is beneficial as well.
Secret #2: Set Healthy Boundaries
Along those same lines, setting healthy boundaries is crucial in open adoption. This ensures that the best interests of the child are kept in mind, and that there is mutual respect between the birth parents and adoptive parents. Because you are different people, your philosophies for parenting may differ. Boundaries help with this as well.
Open adoption does not mean co-parenting. Once the child comes home, the adoptive parents are responsible for his or her well-being and upbringing. In other words, the adoptive parents are the child’s legal parents. The ones who will be there in the good times and bad. For every big and small moment of the child’s life. Boundaries are not meant as barriers, or as a method of control, but as more of a safety net. If the child needs to grieve at any point, the boundary will allow them to do that.
Secret #3: Never Ever Assume
You know why you should never assume, right? There’s an old adage that reveals the answer. Assumptions are dangerous, no matter what. If anything is ever unclear, or there is any gray area whatsoever — ask. Never assume or speculate. Get clarity.
Communication is imperative. To avoid any disagreements or hurt feelings when emotions are high, make sure that both parties are on the same page. Never ever assume.
Secret #4: Always Be Honest
If there are ever concerns or hesitations — voice them. Be honest about expectations, and be willing to listen to each other’s requests. Acknowledge and understand what each side is going through without judgement or automatically getting defensive.
Honesty leads to trust. Trust strengthens and encourages a healthy relationship. Remember that your child will grow up seeing the relationship you both have with each other. So always being honest is an absolute must.
Secret #5: Embrace Your Choice
For the birth parents and adoptive parents who choose to enter into an open adoption together — embrace your choice. The topic of adoption used to be taboo to discuss. Even if families had a child who was adopted, it was recommended that parents withhold telling them about their true origin. Thus, many adoptees grew up believing that they were either born to their adoptive parents, or making up false lives about where they came from. Open adoption allows adoptive parents to be open with their children from the very beginning.
The best possible open adoptions occur when both sets of parents act within their agreements, respect each other, and when they maintain open and healthy communication. That way, when challenges and difficult times arise — and they will — everyone will have a plan of how to overcome it together.
Bonus Secret: Communication
Communicate, communicate, and then communicate some more. It will be your saving grace. Communicate with each other, with the birth parents, with your child. No matter what — communicate.
Adoption Choices of Oklahoma
If you are currently in the process of adopting a baby and have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact, Adoption Choices of Oklahoma. You may visit our website here or call 405-794-7500 (Oklahoma City) or 918-982-6220 (Tulsa).
Make an Impact
Adoption Choices, Inc. is partnering with Crowdrise, a fundraising website for nonprofits, to help our adoptive parents and birth parents with much needed financial assistance. We understand that expenses keep clients from fulfilling their dreams. Both with birth parents making a plan for adoption, and with adoptive parents growing their family. It is our mission to provide financial assistance through grants and scholarships, awarded annually in November, in honor of National Adoption Month. Funds assist adoptive parents with matching and placements, adoption finalization and helping birth mothers improve their lives through higher education — and much more.
However, we can’t do it alone. Please read up on our programs and donate money where you are able. Your donation will make a huge impact.
About the Author
Rachel Robertson is a published journalist, book editor, certified Publishing Specialist, and aspiring novelist. She graduated from Central Washington University (CWU) in March 2011, having found her writing voice within the Creative Nonfiction genre and grew to work as a freelance book editor for small presses all across the United States.
In June 2018, she embarked on an internship with Virginia Frank and came on board with Adoption Choices Inc., Not for Profit 501(c)(3), in December 2018. Between her mutual passion with adoption and surrogacy, and her own personal history with adoption, Rachel is excited to research and share topics each week that will spread awareness and better serve the faithful patrons of Adoption Choices Inc.
When Rachel isn’t haunting her local Starbucks or Barnes and Noble, she’s avidly pouring over her Writer’s Digest subscription or cozying up with a cup of tea and book. She currently resides in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her beloved wife and Border Collie.
“8 Essential Tips For Adoptive Parents.” CBS News, CBS Interactive, www.cbsnews.com/news/8-essential-tips-for-adoptive-parents/.
Adoptions, Lifelong. “7 Tips for Healthy Communication in an Open Adoption.” LifeLong Adoptions, www.lifelongadoptions.com/10-lgbt-adoptive-parents/242-7-tips-for-healthy-communication-in-an-open-adoption.
“Top Ten Tips for a Successful Open Adoption.” Creating a Family, 16 Nov. 2018, creatingafamily.org/adoption-category/top-ten-tips-successful-open-adoption/.