Trusting the Adoptive Family in an Open Adoption
When a pregnant woman decides adoption is the best opportunity for her baby, she is making her choice out of love for the child. She wants what is best for her baby.
With the help of an adoption specialist and other resources, the prospective birth mother will become fully educated on adoption and create her own adoption plan. But, while there are many steps in the adoption process that are understood, scheduled or expected, prospective birth mothers may feel a level of uncertainty during the process.
An open adoption helps ease many of these concerns, as it allows prospective birth parents the chance to interact with the adoptive family and receive updates about their baby. This ongoing relationship and involvement ensures the child is being taken care of in a safe and loving environment, providing peace of mind that the birth parents have made the right decision.
Even though there are many positives associated with choosing an open adoption, there is still one concern that remains common with many birth parents: How can we fully trust the adoptive family?
There is not a specific answer or piece of advice that can put an end to all concerns, but there are different steps you can take during your adoption process to help build a trusting relationship with the adoptive family.
Continue reading this guide to learn how to ease your fears about trusting the adoptive family, all while strengthening your relationship with them at the same time.
Choosing an Open Adoption
When prospective birth parents pursue an open adoption, they will need to decide on the level of openness they would prefer to have with the adoptive family throughout the pregnancy and after placement. This will help determine the amount and the means of communication used, while also setting a precedent for future interactions.
A few thoughts to consider to help you decide the level of openness are:
- How often would you like to communicate with the adoptive family?
- What form of communication would you prefer? Letters, email, text, calls?
- Are you open to in-person meetings and interactions?
Open adoptions are a learning process, as most of the time it is a completely new situation for everyone involved. Determine what you are comfortable with and express any concerns or changes you would like to make. Sharing the same level of desired openness and being able to discuss likes and dislikes can go a long way towards building a trusting and lasting relationship.
Communicating with the Adoptive Family Pre-Placement
No matter the level of openness you choose, communicating with the adoptive family is a great way to begin building a relationship and trust. Pre-placement communication helps both sides get to know each other during the adoption process, while also determining expectations moving forward. Some things to remember when communicating with the adoptive family about goals and expectations are:
- Be clear, open and honest about your expectations for the adoption. This will help avoid any confusion and build trust knowing that they fully understand where you are coming from.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Assuming or failing to discuss important issues can lead to misunderstandings and frustration. The best way to find out the information you are looking for is to ask.
- Discuss any concerns or disagreements you may have regarding your adoption plan. This ensures your opinion is heard and may lead to open discussion that will help you reach agreed-upon boundaries and expectations for your open adoption.
Keep in mind, you are in complete control of deciding which family you would like to adopt your baby. Until placement occurs, you have the right to change your mind if you determine there is an expectation that cannot be agreed upon or changed, or you simply do not feel like it is the best fit for your baby. Your adoption specialist will be able to answer any questions you may have about communicating with the adoptive family prior to placement.
Communicating with the Adoptive Family Post-Placement
Although communication plans are discussed and decided upon pre-placement, it’s beneficial to reiterate these expectations after you have placed your child with the adoptive family. With open adoption constantly evolving for both the adoptive family and also the birth parents, keeping everyone on the same page helps everyone understand their role.
When both sides have a role in creating expectations and an open platform to communicate, it increases the likelihood that everyone fulfils their commitment to the expectations put in place.
In the days, weeks, or months following placement of your child, handling communication properly will be an important component of developing trust in your relationship. For birth parents and adoptive families, placement is considered to be one of the most emotional aspects of adoption. Oftentimes, both parties need time to adjust to their new situation.
Respecting boundaries and allowing everyone their own personal space helps towards building trust, as it shows they respect your needs and care about your feelings (and vice versa).
Adapting to Changes
Much like in life, open adoptions and the relationships involved are going to evolve over time. This may be for better or worse, so you want to be able to adapt to the changes along the way.
Certain periods will include more or less involvement. At times, the level of communication may not be exactly what you would prefer, or it may be perfect. Each adoption will depend on the specific situation the adoptive family or birth parents may be experiencing at any given time. Try to remember that everyone is on the same team during these changes.
Everyone wants what is best for the child.
Giving the adoptive family the opportunity to prove their intentions, as opposed to jumping to conclusions during times of more or less contact, will help earn and build trust for both parties involved. Providing and listening to input on changes and how to handle them also helps grow a trusting relationship.
Trusting the Open Adoption Process
When you search for an adoptive family, you are presented with adoption profiles of families who share the same adoptive goals. You base your decision on the family you feel the strongest connection and trust with.
As an expectant mother considering open adoption, you will be informed of the numerous benefits an open adoption can provide for you and your baby. The same can be said for adoptive families. Throughout the course of their adoption planning, their adoption professional will educate them on the advantages of an open adoption and the positive impact it can have on the child.
You can find trust in knowing the adoptive family understands the benefits and wants what is best for the child, as this will push them to achieve a successful open adoption and remain loyal to the expectations put in place.
The adoption process itself is designed to bring birth parents and adoptive families together, with the common goal of providing the best opportunity for the baby. If you are willing to trust the process and the steps involved, it will help strengthen your relationship, as well as lessen any doubt or trust issues you may have with the adoptive family.
Although nobody can predict the future, the adoption process, and the professionals who help guide you through it, would never intentionally put you in harm's way. It takes somewhat of a leap of faith, but with open adoptions becoming more common every day, trust knowing it is a great opportunity for your baby to have a relationship with you as they grow older.
If you are considering an open adoption for your unplanned pregnancy, or could just use a little help building trust with your adoptive family, contact us anytime to speak with a professional. We will be able to answer any questions or concerns you may have, walk you through the process or even get you started on your adoption journey