1. Be Present

During the pre-placement process…
I really enjoyed having the company of the adoptive parents. My parents lived in another state at the time and I had a 2 year old so I really appreciated their help as they would watch my son while I had counseling appointments and the adoptive mom would even come with me to doctor appointments.

They really cared for me, not just as a means to “get a baby.”

I truly felt their love me.

2. Respect Boundaries

During my hospital stay…
I wanted them there for the whole thing. They were there for the delivery and when they had the baby in their room they would bring him to me whenever I wanted to see him. Some BirthMoms, however, do not want the adoptive parents at the hospital as they may feel this is their only time with the baby.
 I think the Adoptive parents should respect the BirthMoms wishes and act according to the predetermined birth Plan. 

3. Stay Connected

During the post-placement process…
I had support when I left the hospital, but I have known some BirthMoms who really didn’t get the support at home they needed. It was hard for them to adjust from pre-placement “friendship” with adoptive mom/parents to the reality of their post-placement relationship.
While the adoptive parents are busy adjusting and bonding with the baby, the BirthMom is mourning loss, dealing with hormones, milk coming in, and simultaneously wondering “Should I call them?
Am I wanting too much? Why aren’t they sending pictures?”

4. Communicate Expectations

I loved getting a photo album of him in his new home and environment. I know today some families set up private facebook groups or photo accounts so that the pictures are there for the BirthMom to look at whenever she wants. It helps eliminate the awkward question of “When is it appropriate to send pictures or text?” Communication is SO important! It is always an “awkward” road to travel. Some BirthMoms can feel like after the adoptive parents get the baby, they don’t care about the BirthMom anymore.
But if everyone communicates their expectations and feelings,
the relationship will be so much easier to navigate.

5. Keep Your Word

I have heard stories of women who signed papers with an agreement of an open adoption, but then the Adoptive Parents cut off communication. This is so heartbreaking, so please keep up your end of the agreement as it is imperative to the well-being of BirthMoms. Remember, she chose you because she felt that you would raise him better than she could at that point in her life.
Remember…
She loves him with all her heart and the decision was not made out of lack of love, but because she loved him more than herself. 

by Jennie Hundley

Executive Director
Three Strands, Inc.

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