Planning an Open Adoption With the Birth Father

By Isabelle Bryan

As a birth parent, you will need to make several choices during your child’s Colorado adoption. And one of the first—and most impactful—decisions may be determining the adoption’s level of openness. That is, whether you prefer an open, semi-open, or closed adoption. 

Over the years, open adoption, in particular, has become one of the more common adoption options chosen by birth parents. It offers several potential benefits, including the chance to build a relationship with your child and their adoptive family. However, like every type of adoption, it can also create certain challenges for birth parents.

At Adoption Choices of Colorado, we understand the emotional toll open adoption can take alongside the benefits it can provide. But while plenty of guides exist to advise and assist birth mothers, fewer focus on the role of birth fathers. Our adoption agencies are here to correct this. It is our goal to make sure everyone involved in the adoption feels informed and supported when working with us.

Considering Your Adoption Options: Open Adoption

An open adoption is one in which contact between the birth parents and adoptive family is unrestricted. Both parties know each other’s names, addresses, and contact information. You can engage in any type of contact, from emails and photo exchanges to phone calls and in-person visits. Your child will know who you are and may have the opportunity to build a relationship with you. Additionally, you can communicate with the adoptive family throughout—and after—the adoption process. Not just to meet with them before making your choice, but also to develop a connection.

How your open adoption in Colorado will look depends on what you and the adoptive family are comfortable with. In some cases, you might decide on the occasional sending of photos and emails. In others, you may communicate through emails and/or phone calls several times a year while occasionally visiting your child. And in very open adoptions, you might communicate with and see your child and their adoptive family quite often. 

In short, open adoption cannot be easily defined. Like much of the adoption process, it is shaped by the desires and circumstances of the birth and adoptive families. And the same can be said about many of open adoption’s advantages and difficulties.

The Benefits and Challenges of an Open Adoption in Colorado 

Like any type of Colorado adoption, open adoption can present certain challenges. But it can also offer a number of potential benefits to birth parents, adoptive families, and children. These pros and cons may include:

  • Knowing your child is loved and cared for
  • Laying the foundation for new friendships and support systems 
  • The ability to build a relationship with your child
  • Your child can know their birth parents and ask any questions they have
  • Open adoption may assist in the birth parents’ emotional healing process, or it may hinder it
  • The adoptive family may fear your child will prefer their birth family or that you will overstep your boundaries. This could lead them to reduce or cut contact. 
  • Too little or too much contact between parties could cause strain
  • Unmet expectations between you and the birth family 

Alongside these, the birth father may experience some unique advantages and difficulties, including:

  • The chance to share your opinion on prospective adoptive families, something uninvolved birth fathers do not get to do
  • Showing the birth mother how much you care about her. Once you give up your parental rights, you are not required to involve yourself in the adoption process. Doing so, however, may allow you to reduce the birth mother’s stress, help plan your child’s adoption, and build relationships.
  • Feeling unsure about your role in the adoption process and the opinions you should offer
  • Fewer options for birth father-specific emotional support 
  • If your relationship with the birth mother is strained or undefined, working together to plan the adoption could be complicated

A Birth Father’s Role in Your Colorado Adoption

As a birth father, your role in the adoption process does not necessarily begin and end with giving consent. No matter your relationship with the birth mother, you can always ask to take part in adoption planning. She might accept, or she might refuse—as is her right. If you do get involved, however, you may be able to:

  • Provide your opinion when considering adoption options and making decisions. Your relationship may determine when your input is wanted or considered. Having a discussion beforehand may help you to avoid conflict.
  • Support the birth mother during the adoption process in Colorado. This could be emotional support, or it could involve completing various errands or chores to help reduce her stress. In more strenuous circumstances, such as an unplanned pregnancy, this may be doubly important. 
  • Meet your child’s adoptive family and build a relationship with them
  • Be involved in your child’s life and milestones in whatever way you are most comfortable with. 

If you are feeling unsure of your place in the adoption process, a variety of assistance is available to you. Support groups for birth parents, blog posts, video resources, and more can easily be found through online searches. Additionally, our adoption specialists are available to discuss any questions or concerns you may have. 

Communicating and Setting Boundaries During and After the Adoption Process

Gaining some of open adoption’s benefits begins by communicating with the adoptive family. Steady, open, and healthy conversations may assist you in building rapport and forming a friendship. This may be of particular importance for the birth father. Initiating and maintaining contact with the adoptive family may occur less naturally for you than for the birth mother.

When communicating, keep in mind that you are unlikely to agree on everything or meet all of each others’ expectations. Avoid allowing unrealistic expectations and small differences in opinion and values to derail a budding connection. 

Most importantly, make sure to set boundaries with each other early on. Your methods of communication and how often you contact each other should be discussed. Determining and respecting these boundaries may help to build trust and reassure the adoptive family that you are not overstepping. You can always ask to communicate more or less later, but setting an initial bar may benefit everyone.

Is an Open Colorado Adoption the Right Choice for You?

Open adoption provides a number of benefits for birth parents. You may gain reassurance, new friendships, and greater control over the adoption process. Additionally, birth fathers have the opportunity to play a meaningful role in both the adoption process and their child’s life. Though it is not without its challenges, it may provide the greatest opportunity for future communication and relationships. 

At Adoption Choices of Colorado, we understand this choice—and others—can be difficult to make. There is much to consider when making plans for the futures of you and your child. However, our adoption agencies in Colorado are here to provide most of the support you need. From discussing unplanned pregnancy options to helping create your adoption plan, our adoption specialists are ready and willing to assist. All you need to do is ask.

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