Coordinating Post-Placement Communication and Visits in an Open-Adoption

By Shaina Santagata

When a birth mother has considered adoption, the journey isn’t solely about finding a family for her baby. When she chooses open adoption, she creates a connection that lasts a lifetime – between her, her baby, and the adoptive family. Many birth mothers believe that they would be overwhelmed by the idea of keeping in touch after placement.

After such an emotionally challenging situation, like an unplanned pregnancy, learning and adjusting to openness can be the best way for a birth mother to heal and also lead to a happier future for the child.

Our specialized team at Adoption Choices of Colorado is here to guide you. Together, we can support you while providing the tools you need to build a strong relationship with the adoptive family. This new chapter and pathway will ensure everyone involved puts your child’s needs first.

What is Open Adoption?

Open adoption allows the child the opportunity to know their birth mother/birth parents and have information about their cultural and ethnic background. In the past, closed adoption was the most common and traditional approach to the adoption process. Nowadays, we have found that little to no contact after placement isn’t ideal the ideal scenario.

While closed adoption severs all ties after placements, open adoption does the exact opposite. It strengthens the bond, builds a stronger foundation for all involved, and encourages ongoing communication so the child can understand more about who they are. Additionally, open adoption can reduce the amount of fear that the adoptive parents have about the child possibly being reclaimed by the birth parent(s) in the future.

What Type of Communication Will I Have With Open Adoption?

There are various ways in which the lines of communication can occur in open adoption. You can stay in touch with your child by writing letters, emails, phone calls, or even video chats (i.e., FaceTime). To ensure there’s a happy medium between what the birth mother is asking for and what the adoptive family feels comfortable with, a written agreement comes into play. There can be an agreement for them to send pictures or short video clips of your child in moments when your child reaches special milestones. Some of those times include birthdays, graduations, marriage, etc. The key will be making it a respectful and consensual process for everyone involved.

What Will Visits Be Like With My Child?

Visits with your child are a vital and valuable aspect of open adoption. Connecting with your child in person adds enormous depth to your relationship. When planning visits, a few things need to be discussed and considered before simply knocking on the door one afternoon. The best approach would be to consider what works best for you and the adoptive family.

You are a unique family unit now; what matters most is creating a positive experience for your child. When trying to establish visits, the following are some questions you can consider first.

  • How often will the visits occur so the child isn’t overwhelmed or their routine gets too disrupted?
  • What location(s) are the most comfortable for visiting with your child or meeting with the adoptive family? Would it be in their home, your home, a neutral location, etc.?
  • What activities would you like to do with your child when you’re together?
  • How can your child be prepared for the visits to ensure that they are comfortable and excited about spending time with their birth mother/birth parents?
  • What can each party do to help provide flexibility with scheduling to accommodate changing circumstances as necessary?

What Challenges are there to Consider with Post-Placement?

Ensuring that all parties are happy throughout the open adoption may be challenging. It is normal for there to be misunderstandings while navigating the circumstances life can present. Everyone comes from different cultural backgrounds, and no two people have the same communication style. This can lead to moments of unclear expectations and frustration. The best practice would be remembering that you’re all in this together. Support is always available from top adoption agencies like Adoption Choices of Colorado when and if you need it. 

Encouraging all parties to be open, honest, and respectful will help transition birth mothers and adoptive families through the more challenging moments. It is about open communication, actively listening to all thoughts, and empathizing with each other’s emotions. The sooner a misunderstanding gets addressed, the sooner tension can be removed. The result is more time spent focusing on what is best for your child and their well-being.

What External Influences Might Occur with Open Adoption?

While many have realized the beauty of adoption, there will continue to be those stuck in a mindset with societal stigmas. Friends and family can have opinions that impact the open adoption relationship. Their intentions might come from a decent place, but the uninformed comments may cause difficulties.

The healthiest form of action is to help educate others about the adoption process and clarify the common misconceptions. Surrounding yourself with a supportive community and individuals who understand (and respect) your decision will make a huge difference. At Adoption Choices of Colorado, we have group sessions and one-on-one therapy with trained and unbiased professionals who can provide you with clarity, guidance, and reassurance any time you need it during those times. Having people who can keep you grounded and focused on all the positive aspects of the relationship and benefits to your child with open adoption will be key to your journey.

Choosing an Open Adoption in Colorado

Overall, the goal to keep in mind is that this is about what is best for your child. No matter what challenges you face together, you still can leave room to build and nourish a lasting and strong relationship with the adoptive family. When a birth mother chooses to put her child up for adoption, she is making a selfless and courageous decision that will impact both of them. We want you to remember that you are not giving up on your child.

With adoption, you embrace an extraordinary journey that begins with an open heart. You are creating a world for your child based on love, a sense of belonging, and a family that will last a lifetime. Reach out to us today, and we can show you all the love and support you and your baby deserve while guiding you toward a beautiful future.

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