Open Adoption Relationships
A Christian open adoption is founded on the idea of a relationship between the family and the birth mom. Psychological studies have repeatedly shown that both children and biological mothers are healthier and more secure when they have an ongoing connection. Building and keeping relationships does take work, but it is worth it.
Once the baby is already in your arms, you have a road ahead that is filled with joy and wonder. You will get to watch your child grow and thrive as you share your life and your love. You also have opened your life to the birth mom. Being allowed to share your child’s progress with his or her birth mother is a true blessing.
No relationship is easy. The relationship between birth parents and biological parents can be strained if both parties aren’t fully invested. For instance, you may sometimes feel like you are putting more into the relationship than the birth mom. If this is the case, remind yourself how lucky you are to have been chosen by that mom. Remember that she is in a different place in her life than you. Also, it may be emotionally taxing for her to watch as someone else raises the child she carried for nine months. Instead of feeling frustrated, talk to her. Ask her if there is anything you can do to help facilitate a stronger relationship.
It is common for birth parents to want to see the children or hear from the adoptive parents frequently in the first year. This is true whether the adoptee was a newborn or an older child at the time of the adoption. Just as pregnancy is a long process, so is letting go. Hopefully, you will have planned for this in your Christian open adoption agreement.
It is also common for birth moms to have less contact with the children as the years pass. Birth moms may find themselves moving on or hoping to put the past behind them. They might also find themselves becoming busy with their lives. You might find this odd at first, thinking that you would want to see your child as often as possible. However, you must remember that the birth mom does not think of herself as a mother to this child. The relationship she has, even in the most open of adoptions, is usually closer to sister or family friend. Still, if you find the birth mom is distancing herself, it may be up to you to ensure that the relationship continues.
It is important for open adoptions to remain open as children age. An elementary age child will want to know his or her birth mother. As your child ages, he or she will have more questions. Keeping that relationship strong will help your child when he or she eventually wants to talk to the biological mom about topics that perhaps only she can answer. Having this relationship in the future means building the foundation for it now. With a little hope, a little prayer and a lot of hard work, you can keep that open adoption relationship strong.
Mardie Caldwell, C.O.A.P.
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