How To Maintain an Open Adoption

Sandy and John are brand new parents to Sammy. After 10 years of marriage and desperately trying to conceive without much success, they opted for open adoption. Martha and Stewart have grown kids and would like to add a little one to their family. After meeting with an adoption agency, they decided that open adoption is their best option. Now, they are sharing parental rights with Todd’s biological mother and could not be happier.

Like the couples presented here, are you interested in open adoption, which means you are emotionally, financially, and mentally prepared to take care of and raise a child in partnership with its biological parents? To make sure that everything goes smoothly in this set-up you might consider taking these steps for successful child-rearing.

  1. Though it is true that open adoption gives you all the legal rights to a child and you are therefore the child’s legal parents, it is not to your adopted child’s advantage to sever the role of the biological parents. Consider open adoption as shared parenting.
  2. Seek professional counseling. Parenting takes work. Professional counselors give good advice on dealing with stress, parental authority, and boundaries essential to a healthy relationship in your family and that of your child’s biological parents.
  3. As soon as the child is able to understand, explain the situation to him or her in a loving and open way. Use positive words like: “We are your real parents and you are our child”  or  “Your birth parents are your biological parents. They did not give you   away, they wanted to give you the best that life can offer so they opted for adoption.”
  4. Create a home environment that gives your adopted child a sense of security and protection.
  5. If you feel it is necessary, consult major decisions with the child’s biological parents. Examples include moving to another state or setting up a college fund.
  6. Misunderstandings between you and the biological parents may come up. When this happens, be open to communication and conflict-resolution. When needed, seek professional help or mediation.
  7. You and your adopted child’s biological parents must always work together for the child’s best interest. There is no room for selfish interests when a child’s future is at stake.
  8. Maintain an album of family pictures and update it often. This shows your adopted child that he or she is truly a member of your family.
  9. Keep an mind that open adoption is more about relationships more than a legal contract. Maintaining a successful open adoption is not about the system or the process. It’s about your commitment to love and cherish your adopted child.
  10. In this day of social networking, it is prudent to keep your blogging and tweeting to a minimum where your adopted child is concerned. Refrain from sharing the adoption process and photos of your child until he or she is old enough to share this life story on his or her own free will.

The challenge is not how to be a parent but how to become a parent.  Biological or not, it really takes heart to love and care for a child and you ought to feel blessed you have one in your life. Relish the memories and celebrate one of the most glorious experiences of your life.


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