How to Make an Open Adoption Work
During Pregnancy and After Placement
The words “open adoption” bring many thoughts to mind. Some imagine an experience where the birth mother remains heavily involved in raising her child through the adoptive family. Others may visualize a yearly exchange of photos and updates. The truth is, each open adoption is unique based on the desires of those involved.
An open adoption is not co-parenting. It’s a communication plan agreed upon by the birth mother and adoptive parents before, during and after the adoption is completed and can involve many things.
Here is a general example of what an open adoption plan, through Adoptions First, may involve:
The birth mother requests an open or semi-open adoption
It’s usually up to the prospective birth mother to decide how much communication, if any, she’d like with the adoptive family. Up until the birth, this may include:
● A meeting with the birth mother, adoptive parents and an adoption specialist
● Direct contact via phone and email to stay in touch before and after placement
● In-person interaction on the day of birth through placement
After the baby is placed, the open adoption may involve:
● Sending photos and written updates about the child to the birth parents quarterly or annually until the child is 18 years old
● Visits, video calls and more if both parties agree to it
Your Adoptions First Specialist is happy to explain how an open adoption can benefit the birth mother, adoptive family, and child.
The prospective birth mother selects the adoptive family
After the adoption specialist learns about the level of openness a prospective birth mother desires, with the help of Adoptions First, the birth mother will consider families that match her criteria and will select the adoptive parents she’d like to raise her baby.
Pre-placement contact begins between the birth mother and adoptive parents
This step in the open adoption path is where a relationship is built. Many times there will be conference calls so the birth mother and adoptive parents can learn more about each other and grow comfortable with each other’s involvement in the child’s life. Although the adoption specialist can be included to help guide conversations and reassure each side by answering any questions, oftentimes these calls are unsupervised as supervision may lead birth parents to feel they are not trusted.
In-person meeting on the big day
The Adoptions First Specialist will create a birth plan with the birth mother which will include her preference for interactions at the hospital on the big day. By doing this, the birth mother, adoptive parents, and the hospital staff will know what to expect during this very emotional time.
Staying in touch
In an open adoption, the relationship between the birth parent and the adoptive family will continue per their agreement which is often verbal. In some cases, legally enforceable post-adoption contact agreements are signed. Photos, emails, texts, video calls are all possible ways for the adoptive family to stay in touch and share the milestones and updates with the birth mother. The frequency and volume of interactions depends on what was decided before the child was born. Of course, this may increase or decrease over time, depending on everyone’s comfort level. The nice part is that no matter what stage you are in pre-adoption or post-adoption, your Adoptions First Specialist will always be there with love and support.