In an open adoption, birth parents have the opportunity to select the family who will parent their child. The adoptive parents and birth parents may speak, meet, and get to know each other before the birth, and then communicate afterwards, as well. As the birth mother progresses in her pregnancy, she can send ultrasound photos and share additional photos, if desired. Communication after adoption can take many forms. These can include communication via a website, (such as a social networking site or a private web site), text messaging, email, phone calls, and even old fashioned letters and pictures sent in the mail. Visits after adoption may occur, but are usually casual in nature and do not involve leaving the child alone with the birth family. They involve the birth mother (or birth family) getting together with the adoptive parents and the child for lunch, a visit at a park, or perhaps even a day at a county fair, for example. Open adoption is not co-parenting, but can be seen as more people to love your child.
Semi-open adoption involves the sharing of some information, but not necessarily identifying information. For example, a birth mother may choose the adoptive family but may not know their last names, state of residence, or have their direct phone number. Open communication may exist, but it can be through email or a third party, such as your adoption professional. It can even be in the form of adoptive parents communicating with the birth grandparents of the child, rather than the birth mother.
Here are five quick tips for Ongoing Communication in an Open or Semi-Open Adoption:
1. Mail letters and photos to the birth mother, either directly or send them through your adoption professional.
2. Email, instant message, or text message with the birth mother.
3. Create a website, blog, or social networking account online for the birthmother to view your updates. Make the site private if you want to limit access.
4. Connect occasionally through phone calls or video calls via the Internet.
5. Coordinate annual visits.
Today’s adoption tip comes from Lifetime Adoption Founder Mardie Caldwell’s most recent book, Called to Adoption.