Building a Relationship with the Adoptive Family
How to Create a Lifelong Bond During Your Pregnancy
Communication between prospective birth mothers and adoptive families is increasingly common in the modern-day adoption process. This connection is called “open adoption” or “semi-open adoption,” depending on the amount and frequency of contact. But, just because it’s common doesn’t mean it’s easy.
As with any relationship, communicating with the adoptive family takes work. Building a lasting friendship with anyone is rarely easy. This situation can seem even more difficult than usual — you are bonded in a unique and powerful way through adoption.
Many women who choose adoption feel anxious about creating a trusting bond with the adoptive family. Some wonder how it works and what their options are, while others are unsure of how to proceed with this relationship.
There’s good news: We know it can be done. Over more than 25 years of serving expectant mothers in the adoption process, we’ve seen open adoptions blossom into lifelong friendships. Through intentional effort from both sides, open adoption can become a foundation connection pre-placement and lasting relationship for the rest of life.
Pre-Placement Contact: The Beginning of a Long Journey
When you choose adoption for your baby, one of the first things you will do is create an adoption plan. You’ll do this with the help of an adoption specialist. This plan involves a lot of decisions, and one of them is how much contact you want to have with the adoptive family now and after the adoption.
You’re in charge of the adoption process, so this is totally up to you. Some women want to have a completely open adoption, with face-to-face interaction and regular in-person visits. Many others choose semi-open adoption, where communication happens via email, text, phone conversation and letters. You should choose what feels best for you when creating your plan.
Pre-placement contact can be incredibly beneficial during the process. It helps you get to know the family, which can give you a sense of confidence and peace about who you chose to adopt your baby. It’s also the building block of a lasting relationship post-placement.
Post-Placement Communication: A Lasting Connection
After you have given birth and officially consented to adoption, the baby will be placed with the adoptive family. The family then has about six more months of post-placement visits and other requirements before receiving their final decree of adoption from a court.
The time immediately following placement can be sensitive and emotional for everyone. It is also the time when your relationship with the adoptive family takes its next step — moving into post-placement communication.
Post-placement communication can happen in many ways, and, just like pre-placement contact, it is up to you to decide how you’d like this to go. Many birth mothers choose to receive photo and letter updates, or to communicate through email, text, phone calls and video chats. Others may choose in-person visits and completely open contact.
We know that as a woman choosing adoption for your baby, you have hopes and dreams for them. This choice comes from love. Post-placement contact can bring a sense of lasting peace as you witness the opportunity and love your child receives from their adoptive family.
Building a Relationship: Ways to Create a Lasting Bond
As we said earlier, building a long-lasting relationship is hard. You may feel awkward navigating an open adoption. The bond you share with the adoptive parents is unique and full of emotion. What are the best ways to create a genuine, sustained relationship?
While every situation looks different, here are some things you can do pre- and post-placement to strengthen this connection:
Be proactive in establishing your adoption plan with your adoption specialist
Start communicating early — don’t wait until you are almost ready to give birth
Consider sending pictures of sonograms and other updates
Communicate around big life moments, like holidays or birthdays
Initially give space — you both need it to process the emotions of placing a baby for adoption and, on the adoptive family side, starting a new family
Send encouraging messages as the adoptive parents’ life completely changes
Try to be flexible, understanding that life does change and some seasons may involve more communication than others
Trust the family to continue to work on this relationship as hard as you are
These are some of the things you can do to help create a good relationship with the adoptive family. But, you’re only half of the equation. The family has a lot they can do, as well. One way you can be confident that the adoptive family will be proactive in this relationship is by working with American Adoptions.
We thoroughly screen all of our families, who are all required to be willing to accept at least a semi-open adoption. Through our process, we only present you with adoptive family profiles of families whose desires for open adoption match your own. Building a strong open adoption relationship takes work on your end and on the family’s side. With American Adoptions, you can be confident you will only be presented with great families.
Learn More about Building an Open Adoption Relationship
You aren’t alone when you choose adoption. You are supported by all the resources our agency has to offer, and you receive guidance from an adoption specialist throughout the process. You likely have more questions about building a strong open adoption relationship, and our specialists are the perfect people to ask.
You can request more adoption information at any time or speak to a specialist today by calling 1-800-ADOPTION.
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