Openness in Adoption: A Guide for Birthparents

Openness is…

  • An agreement based on trust between the adoptive family, the birth parents, and the child.
  • An agreement between birthparents, the adoptive family, and the child that does not include extended relatives.
  • Healthy for an adopted child.
  • Respectful of the wishes of each member of the adoption triad: the birth family, the adoptive family and the child.

Openness is not…

  • Co-parenting a child.
  • Legally enforceable by any court.
  • Detrimental or unhealthy to a child.
  • Threatening to the adoptive family, to the birthparents, or to the child.

General Good Ideas

Establish boundaries. As a birthparent do you want to receive pictures and letters at your home address? Do you want the adoptive family to drop by when they are in your neighborhood?

Write your ideas down on paper and ask to discuss these ideas with the adoptive family and the social worker or attorney involved with your adoption.

Ask that the child call you by your first name. You can always let the child know that you are his/her birthmother but confusion may come if the child is asked to call more than one person Mom or Dad. Would you be comfortable with the child using your first name?

Ask that the adoptive family communicate with you and then the information you choose to share with your extended family is up to you. This way you can control how much or how little information you share with grandparents, siblings, etc.

Provide a picture or scrapbook for your child. A most treasured possession for an adopted child is a picture and a letter from their birthparents. Most adopted children want to know: What does my birthmother look like? Why did she choose adoption? Please consider offering this information to your child.

Keep each other up to date with your lives. Share when you go to college or graduate from a program. Share your new address. Send updated photos of yourself.

Be flexible and have reasonable expectations.

Provided by: Adoption Link, Inc. 512 Dayton Street, Yellow Springs, Ohio 45387 1-800-643-3356. We serve all of Ohio, including: Cinncinnati, Columbus, Dayton, Toledo, and Cleveland.