Choosing adoptive parents to raise your child is a loving decision. Many different factors go into this decision to choose adoption, and it certainly isn’t an easy one.
Many of Lifetime’s adoptive parents will agree to future visits and ongoing communication after the adoption occurs. Wondering about birth parent visits after adoption and what they’re like? Let’s start by defining open adoption, and then we’ll go into its benefits and how it works.
What does open adoption mean?
Choosing an open adoption means that you can pick the family that adopts your child. You can also decide how much contact, if any, you want to have with your child and the family after the adoption placement happens.
That means if you want to be involved with your baby and the adoptive parents after you give birth, you can talk to them ahead of time to agree upon what the future contact will look like. This future contact can be updates through letters and pictures, email, phone calls, texting, social media, and even getting together once or twice a year for visits.
If you choose to stay in contact with your baby and the adoptive family, there are many benefits. Here are just four of the benefits of open adoption:
#1: The adoptive family can get to know you.
Our team at Lifetime Adoption encourages getting to know each other before the adoption. That means you and the parents you’ve chosen will have a chance to talk and build a solid foundation for the future.
By sharing about yourself as you build a connection with the adoptive family, it will allow your child to learn more about you, your story, and the story of how they came to be in the world. Then, when it comes time for birth parent visits after adoption, you won’t be a stranger to your child.
#2: It allows you to get to know the adoptive family.
Sometimes, birth mothers have second thoughts about actually going through with the adoption. In our experience, that often can be because they don’t have a good picture in their minds’ eye of where their child will be and who will be raising him or her.
That is why open adoption is such a great choice. It gives you time to get to know the parents, ask them tough questions, and ensure that you have set the stage for future contact. It also gives you the opportunity to learn more about where they live, how they will parent your child, and what their values are.
Knowing the family better will help you feel more comfortable, ultimately making your decision one that you feel more comfortable (and confident!) with.
#3: Your child will know who you are.
Your child will start asking questions about their background once they get older and begin understanding their adoption story.
Placing your baby with a loving adoptive family can be hard, but knowing that you will get to see your child grow up will help ease some of the pain and separation you may feel. The family will talk to your child as they grow up about who you are, where they came from, and how much love you have for them.
With in-person visits, you have the opportunity to allow your child to know your voice and your smile. And most importantly, you will be able to explain to them more about the life-giving decision you made and why you made it.
#4: Your child will know their medical history.
Keeping in touch with the adoptive parents can be extremely helpful when it comes to discussing medical history or genetics and will give them answers that they need. And when your child grows into an adult, knowing their medical history will be crucial. Just think of all the times you’re asked about your medical history when you go to the doctor.
In the past with closed adoptions, adoptees didn’t even know who their birth parents were and had no knowledge of their medical history. Imagine having to answer, “I don’t know” when asked if anyone from your birth mother’s (or father’s) family has had cancer, for example. By choosing open adoption, you’re empowering your child with knowledge of their family medical history.
Contact After Adoption
Setting up a post-adoption contact agreement with the adoptive parents before the baby is born is the best way to plan for the future. That way, after the adoption, everyone knows their role and responsibility.
And while there are many unknowns for birth parents considering adoption, you will always have the compassionate support of Lifetime’s experienced adoption specialists.
Both peer and licensed counseling are available too. This gives you the tools and information you need to make the right choice for your baby.
Mardie Caldwell, C.O.A.P., is nationally recognized as an expert on open adoption. A Certiﬁed Open Adoption Practitioner (C.O.A.P.), Caldwell is the founder of Lifetime Adoption Center, established in 1986. She has assisted in over 2,000 successful adoptions and was one of the ﬁrst adoption professionals on the Internet.
Caldwell’s life work is dedicated to educating and helping birth parents find the right adoptive parents for their child. She spreads the word about modern adoption through speaking appearances, webinars, online resources, and as a podcast show host.
She has written several award-winning books, including So I Was Thinking About Adoption, the first book of its kind. There are many reasons women choose adoption, and this short book is a comprehensive resource to make the best plan for you and your baby. Caldwell wrote So I Was Thinking About Adoption as a handy guide to the details of the adoption process.
Caldwell has made over 150 media appearances, including ABC News, CBS News, Larry King Live, CNN Headline News, NBC’s The Today Show, CNN’s The Campbell Brown Show, NBC News, KGO Newstalk Radio, CNN’s Black in America II, MSNBC, Fox, PBS, BBC, and Dr. Laura.