How to Develop an Open Adoption Relationship

by | May 1, 2017 | Adoptive Families Blog

steve regina open adoption.jpgSo, you’ve agreed to give your baby’s birth mother updates as he grows up.  Now that you’ve returned home with your baby, how do you know which info to share? Working through the unfamiliar emotions that can arise in an open adoption relationship isn’t always easy. Today, Lifetime gives you tips on how you can develop a healthy relationship with your child’s birth mother!

Just like any committed relationship, building a relationship with your child’s birth mother takes time. It’s important to respect each person’s specific role in the child’s life. After all, one of the great benefits to open adoption is that a child can grow up being loved by two sets of parents! You’ll always be your child’s mom and dad, and their birth mother will remain the woman who gave him life. 

As your open adoption relationship develops, make sure to provide your child’s birth mother with opportunities to see that her baby is happy and healthy.  When you do this, you’re honoring the adoption plan she made for her child and allowing her to see that it’s working well. Include your child’s birth mother in exciting milestones as well as what you see as mundane, everyday activities. You might tell her what his favorite book or toy is, share funny habits, and send close-up pictures.  You can share through phone calls, letters, emails, videos, social media updates, or visits. Sharing these things can help her heal and move forward post-placement.

Keep your communication with her open so that you can develop a plan for contact early on. The “right” level of contact varies with each and every situation. Share your expectations, and ask her what hers are as well.  As the years pass, it’s normal for the amount and type of contact to change. So, let your relationship grow and develop naturally.

Simple Sharing Tips

Below are 8 great ways to share info and updates with your child’s birth mother. You’ll want to choose the ones that feel right for your family and your relationship with her.

  1. Over your child’s first two years, share the dates that he or she reaches developmental milestones.
  2. Buy a small photo album to give her, and fill it with photos of your child.
  3. Does your child have a favorite stuffed animal? Consider buying a duplicate to gift to her birth mother as a keepsake.
  4. Provide her with a list of the words your child can say or share about their favorite foods.
  5. Tell her about your upcoming vacation plans. Then, send photos and videos of your adventures once you’re back home.
  6. Once your child begins to color with crayons, send one of his creations to her.
  7. Send her the results and comments from your child’s doctor checkups.
  8. Write on a postcard from the point-of-view of your child, telling his birth mother about how his day went.


Do you have a tip for sharing open adoption updates that we didn’t name? Please share it with us by leaving a comment below!

Heather Featherston

Written by Heather Featherston

As Vice President of Lifetime Adoption, Heather Featherston holds an MBA and is passionate about working with those facing adoption, pregnancy, and parenting issues. Heather has conducted training for birth parent advocates, spoken to professional groups, and has appeared on television and radio to discuss the multiple aspects of adoption. She has provided one-on-one support to women and hopeful adoptive parents working through adoption decisions.

Since 2002, she has been helping pregnant women and others in crisis to learn more about adoption. Heather also trains and speaks nationwide to pregnancy clinics to effectively meet the needs of women who want to explore adoption for their child. Today, she continues to address the concerns women have about adoption and supports the needs of women who choose adoption for their child.

As a published author of the book Called to Adoption, Featherston loves to see God’s hand at work every day as she helps children and families come together through adoption.

Read more about Heather Featherston

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