Open adoption is an option for expectant/birth mothers who are not ready to become parents, but wish to provide a wonderful life for their child. Open adoption allows birth parents and adoptive families to build a relationship and keep in contact over the years. This helps each family’s well-being, and also benefits the children. Children who know about their biological family through open adoption are often happier than those in closed adoptions. Statistics prove this.
If you are unfamiliar with the benefits of open adoption, you may be asking yourself: “Does open adoption confuse kids?”
Although adoption has come a long way over the years, with more openness and acceptance than ever, there remain to be many misconceptions. For expectant/birth parents, there is often a fear that adoption will confuse the child about the decision to place them for adoption. If you have been worrying about potential confusion for your child, you can put those fears to rest. When carried out properly — through an open adoption agreement, with an adoption agency that is familiar with open adoption practice, and with good communication — open adoption does not confuse kids.
The feelings a child has about their adoption typically depend upon the adoptive parents. If adoptive parents approach the topic of adoption with openness and positivity, then the child will likely have the same feelings about it. If the family is honest and normalizes the topic of adoption from day one, the child is likely to feel very comfortable with their story.
When you choose a family through a private, reputable, and open adoption agency, this is typical. Today, nearly all children (over 99%) know about their adoption. Most families are open about their adoption story, and most are highly respectful and grateful for the birth parents who made this incredibly brave choice. An adoption agency like Adoptions With Love can work with you to ensure that you and your child’s adoptive parents are on the same page. If you have established healthy connections with your child’s family and maintain open and honest communication with your child, then there will be no confusion about the adoption and adoption relationships.
What Expectant/Birth Parents Can Do
Whether you are considering placing your child for adoption, or you have already gone through the process, you may want to do whatever you can to clear up any confusion your child may have about the adoption. You want to ensure that your child knows they are loved unconditionally – by both you and the adoptive parents.
As an expectant/birth mother, you may consider designing an open adoption plan. This will allow you to stay in touch with your child’s family and answer any questions that might arise. You can choose how much and which form of communication you prefer. You may consider staying in touch over email, text messaging, phone calls, or even through your adoption agency so your contact information remains private. This is completely up to you. The beauty of open adoption is that it can be custom designed to fit your needs.
If you have an open adoption with your child’s adoptive parents, you may be able to discuss your concerns with them. More than likely, they also want to help prevent any confusion for the child, and will welcome opportunities for you to get more involved. To help your child understand your relationship as a birth mom, you may consider sending your child a small, personalized gift that can be kept in their bedroom. Or you may send a framed photo of you in the hospital with your child, or a photo of you with your child’s adoptive parents. This can serve as a great conversation starter for your child’s adoptive parents, as they can explain that you are the special person who brought them their beautiful baby to love.
You can also send gifts and letters to add to your child’s collection. Be sure to sign them with the appropriate title, that you have discussed with the adoptive parents, or your name. This is to establish a clear distinction between you and your child’s adoptive parents, who will probably go by “mom” and “dad.” This will help avoid any confusion that may come from multiple parents involved in a child’s life.
These letters, gifts, and photos can help normalize adoption for your child and give your child pride in their two loving families.
What Adoptive Parents Can Do
While you can help offer these reminders of love and affection for your child, your child’s adoptive parents will be the ones to offer the best explanations about open adoption.
Adoptive families today are encouraged to speak about adoption frequently and openly throughout a child’s life, as early as possible. They can share the adoption story and details of your life story, as well. For example, the parents might shed light into your cultural background, the many reasons you wanted to offer a better life for your child, and why your child is loved by so many people.
Adoptive parents can also help set those ground rules of establishing titles and care. You are not co-parenting with your child’s adoptive parents. If you have in-person visits with the family, remember they are simply that: Visits. Consider these visits special moments to get to know your child.
If you would like to learn more about open adoption and the positive impact that it has on a child, reach out to Adoptions With Love. We can help guide you through the journey every step of the way. Call us at 800-722-7731, text us confidentially at 617-777-0072, or contact us online.