Blog// LGBT Adoptive Parents

Birthfathers: A Hard Conversation

When it comes to adoption, it’s completely normal to want to know as much as you can about your child’s personal history. In many cases, this can include information about your child’s birth father. Although it is totally understandable to want to know this information, it’s important to remember that the subject may be a sensitive one for your child’s birth mother. Therefore, if you decide to broach the subject while talking to your child’s birth mother about the adoption, follow these five steps to help ensure everyone remains comfortable: 

 

Reach Out to Your Adoption Specialist First 

If you’d like to find out more information about your child’s birth father but aren’t sure where to start, a great first step is to contact your adoption specialist. Not only will your adoption specialist be able to provide some insight into the birth family’s situation, but they can also guide your conversations with the birth mother to help them go as smoothly as possible.  

 

Start Slow 

Once you’ve set up a meeting with your child’s birth mother to discuss their birth father, it’s best to start slow and allow the conversation to progress naturally. Let the birth mother take the lead, and be sure to practice active, empathetic listening. This will help the two of you to build trust, which may encourage her to share more information than she would otherwise.  

 

Avoid Inappropriate Questions 

In addition to practicing active listening, you should also be careful to avoid questions that might make your child’s birth mother uncomfortable. For example, questions such as “where is the child’s birth father now?” and “have you spoken to him since the adoption?” might cause offense and should be avoided. In contrast, questions like “what would you like the child to know about their birth father?” are fairly neutral and are relatively safe to ask.  

 

Take Notes 

As previously mentioned, your child’s birth mother might be reluctant to talk about their birth father. Therefore, you should avoid asking her to repeat herself, and should instead take notes during the conversation. That way, you will be able to get the information you need without causing the birth mother excessive stress or grief.  

 

Be Understanding 

Above all, when searching for information about your child’s birth father, you should remain compassionate towards the birth family’s situation. If the birth mother is unwilling or unable to share information, remember that there are other ways for your child to learn about their birth family, such as through DNA registries. Additionally, be considerate with the information that you take back to your child, as they deserve the opportunity to develop their own opinions of their birth parents. By engaging with both your child and their birth family with empathy and understanding, you will help your child develop a positive view of their heritage, personal history, and identity.  



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