Many women think that placing a baby for adoption is giving a baby away. That mindset comes from the idea that all adoptions are closed. But the research concerning open adoption is overwhelmingly in favor of it for the best interests of everyone involved. So, since the child will presumably be part of another family after adoption, where does that leave the expectations of the Birth Mother with the adoptive family after adoption?


For some Expectant Moms pursuing an adoption plan, this question can keep them up at night. Will the baby know who she is? How will she manage the relationship between the child she placed for adoption and any biological siblings she may be parenting? How does all of this work together harmoniously? Can it work at all?


Fear is a terrible motivator. It lies to you and keeps you stuck in one place. Information is always a good antidote to fear. The more an expectant mom knows about open adoption and how it works with her family, the better she can articulate what her open adoption needs are and what she will be looking for in a prospective adoptive family. It is always good to arm yourself with information when you are not sure what direction to go in, especially with making an open adoption plan.


Family Is Family After Adoption But The Roles Change


One of the things that is said a lot by expectant moms is that they are not going to be the baby’s mom any more. This is simply not true. A child’s biological mother is always the biological mother. No amount of legal paperwork can change DNA. So, the Birth Mother is always the Birth Mother. The word Mother is right there in the title. What changes is the role she plays in the child’s life after she decides to place the child for adoption. Roles are important in an open adoption, or really any relationship. Knowing how the relationship will proceed and what the rules of engagement are will make the relationship run smoother.


Think of this like a marriage. The longer you get to know someone, the more you know what to do to make them feel safe and valued by you. No one knows all of that upfront. That is how it is with open adoption, too. The open adoption relationship as defined by what the Expectant Mom is looking for is the foundation of the relationship. Once an adoptive family agrees to her open adoption terms, that becomes the basis for the relationship. How everyone works within that framework is defined by their personalities, unhealed traumas, and overcoming fear of what you don’t know. And that is where the rubber meets the road. All parties should come to the table understanding that everyone else has hangups and trauma that will impact their ability to have a flourishing relationship. All parties should also come to the table expecting that they should seek professional counseling to help blend themselves into another’s lives for the rest of their lives. It is what is in the best interest of the child.


We don’t fire our families. Or we shouldn’t have to feel like we need to. It is the same for an open adoption. If all the members of their triad are committed to seeing the relationship bumps through, then a good working open adoption relationship lies on the other side. No one in the adoption triad is temporary or disposable. All should come together with understanding that they are family. A different kind of family, but no less than any other.


Family Relationships Take Understanding In Open Adoption


There are lots of things that can be misunderstood in an open adoption. Some times a family member has a bad day or goes through something hard. Be patient. None of you will be perfect at this. There are few resources to help the adoption triad understand how to work together, but they are out there. The important thing is to be patient, let your needs and your boundaries be known before they get overlooked. For the Expectant Mom, your needs matter just as much as everyone else’s. You are all in this together. The child you may place for adoption needs to know you are all just as committed to each other as you are them. If you need help navigating an open adoption, or you have questions about open adoption and are  considering placing for adoption, contact us today for a free consult on how to navigate family after adoption.