Getting Back in Touch
Open adoption allows birth mothers to stay in touch after the adoption is finalized. A formal agreement gives them a regular schedule for communication as well as updates about the child’s progress. Psychological studies have shown that children who are the products of open adoptions have healthier self-esteem and fewer cases of depression than those children who never have the opportunity to meet their birth parents. This is why more and more adoptive parents choose open adoption.
Unfortunately, there are times when the birth mother and the adoptive family lose contact. This is a much more common situation than most adoptive parents realize. Should the family wish to get back in touch with the birth mother, the situation can be tricky and even difficult.
There are many reasons to try to reconnect with a birth mother after a long period of no contact. The adoptive family may have new questions about the family’s health history. There might be concerns about learning disabilities that weren’t previously addressed. In most cases, the child has questions about his or her background and wants those answers from the birth mother.
The best way to reach out to the birth mother is via email or social media. A note, explaining that the child would like to reconnect, should be sufficient to receive a response. The initial email might be short and to the point. Wait until after the response to provide a more thorough update and/or a list of questions from the child. After a few weeks of trading emails and/or text messages, it may be possible to set up a meeting.
Not all birth mothers want to continue contact with the child. It could be too painful for them to face the child they had to place for adoption. The child might represent a part of their life they would prefer to forget. They might want to move on with the new life they have forged. It is impossible to force someone to communicate with the child. Furthermore, a birth parent who spends time with the child out of obligation or guilt rather than desire might do more harm than good to that child’s psyche. It is reasonable to ask, but not all birth mothers will respond.
There are some steps an adoptive mother can take should the situation arise in which the birth mother does not respond to repeated contact. The adoptive mother can share all of the information she has with the child. She can offer photographs, any letters that the birth mother wrote prior to the adoption and any other details. Most of all, the adoptive parents should remind the child that they are that child’s family and will always be there to offer love, care, and support.
“I want to take a minute to be thankful for something a lot of people may never understand. I am SO GRATEFUL to have found such an AMAZING adoption agency!!! Lifetime Adoptions, and their case workers ESPECIALLY Tiffany Bay, are the most kind and caring people you could ever meet!! And I can NEVER thank them enough for finding and bringing to me, my son’s AMAZING adoptive parents Cassie and Matt!!! I am FOREVER thankful!!”
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