Adoption is a wonderful thing that helps connect children who need a home with parents who want a child, but it can also be difficult and emotionally challenging on all sides. Birth parents may be conflicted about placing their child for adoption and unsure about what type of adoption to pursue. Adoptive parents may be nervous about moving forward or wary of open adoptions.
However, open adoption is hands-down the healthiest choice for the child, allowing them to maintain some level of contact with their birth family, which can be helpful in establishing a sense of identity as well as knowing more about their family history for medical reasons. It also gives everyone involved an extended support network. With that in mind, there is one thing that can make an open adoption successful even in the face of doubt: commitment.
Commit to Communicate
One of the best ways birth parents and adoptive parents can ensure a successful open adoption is by establishing early on how you plan to communicate with each other. Some adoptive parents like to send out periodic updates via email or social media, while others may prefer phone or video calls. Setting up a way to communicate and the frequency with which you will contact each other helps ensure regular contact right from the start.
As part of this communication, you can also establish how the child will be involved in any communication. Will they chat with their birth parents? Are there any boundaries established around that? Will you ever meet up in person?
Commit to Compromise
The thing about an open adoption is that it will involve at least two, and possibly as many as four, adults who all may have their own ideas about what the open adoption should entail. It is important to go into the adoption discussions with an open mind; just because part of the plan isn’t exactly what you had in mind going in doesn’t mean it’s bad or wrong! Being willing to meet the adoptive or birth parents you’re working with partway can go a long way toward encouraging goodwill and showing them you are dedicated to making this work.
Commit to the Child
The most important thing to keep in mind as you figure out your open adoption is who you’re doing all this for: the child. Whether you are adopting the child or placing the child for adoption, you want what’s best for them — and what’s best for them is the adults in their lives setting aside any differences in order to keep them happy and healthy. If you can commit to doing what’s best for the child even when it gets difficult, you will enjoy a successful open adoption.