Open adoption can mean many things. It might be that you know each other’s first names only, or it might mean getting together for holidays. Other times, open adoption can entail continuing to speak on the phone or email back and forth. Some families have found that after they meet their child’s birth mother, they would like to have an ongoing relationship with her or her family. The choice is yours. Most adoptive families know that the baby is theirs. They feel that if it helps the birth mother heal, then they would like to continue the contact. Many families have told us that “you can’t have too many people to love your child.” Understand that birth mothers are not going to come kidnap your child. In fact, it is common that with an open relationship, the birth mother is willing to sign off sooner. An excellent book to read is Pregnant? Adoption Is an Option by Jeanne Warren Lindsay.
Ongoing contact is such a benefit if medical issues come up that were not known at the time of the adoption, for instance heart disease, diabetes, or cancer. Children are not confused when open adoption; their adoption story is what they have always known. They know you are their Mommy and Daddy, and they grew in their birth mother’s tummy.
I encourage you to speak to other families that maintain ongoing contact or listen to adoption stories in adoption webinars. Most families that are open to ongoing contact are chosen sooner that families who are not. We are seeing many birth mothers that are asking for at least yearly contact. This doesn’t take place at your home, but maybe dinner at a restaurant or meeting at the park for a picnic. One of the major deciding factors Lifetime Adoption has for accepting new families is the degree of openness.