Open Adoption - How Open?

When we were in the process of filling out the gazillion pages of paperwork for our adoption, one of the decisions we had to make was how "open" we were willing to be with the birth family.

The state of Indiana does not recognize adoptions as closed or open, therefore we aren't legally required to have any communication with the birth family. However, our agency requires all adoptive families to agree to write letters and send photos.  So, unless the birth mom wants a closed adoption, we had to be open to some openness.

Were we willing to reveal our full identities or just go by a first name basis?  

Were we willing to see the birth mom after the adoption was final?  

I was a little worried about this decision.  It's hard to decide {and overwhelming} when you have no idea the circumstances your adoption is going to bring.  Obviously, if it was a dangerous situation, we wouldn't put ourselves in harm's way, nor would our agency allow it to happen.  One of our many opportunities to trust God.  

We finally decided to be willing to leave the door open for any of the above and see how God led us....

Before we adopted, I remember hearing of an adoption situation where the adoptive mom and the birth mom had each other's phone numbers.  This was strange to me and I thought that I would never do that. 

Well, guess what?  Max's birth mom and I have each other's number.  It just kind of happened and I'm glad it did.

Things to think about in an open adoption:

* If you don't want the birth family to know your last name and you are going to be present at the hospital during or after the delivery, make sure you let the hospital staff know.  They can then avoid putting that information on any of the paperwork that the birth family may see.  We didn't do this, but we really didn't care either...

* Meeting places - public places work best - during warm weather, parks are a great choice, especially if other children are involved.

*Schedule visits - We went ahead and scheduled 4 visits for the first year.  That gave Max's birth family and us something to look forward to.  Make sure you choose a time that works well with your child's nap schedule.  We failed to do this once and Max was {understandably} a little cranky.

*Box of love - Keep gifts, cards and anything from the birth family in a special box.  If there isn't a relationship with the birth family, make the effort to collect pictures {developed or put on a CD} for the birth family in case they ever make the effort to re-connect.  Our agency gave us this idea and I think it's a great way to show your child that you haven't forgotten about their birth family.

Do you have any ideas for connecting with birth families?


  1. Here in Utah all adoptions are considered closed. I think it is this way to protect the adopted parents but choosing to continue communication after the adoption process is up to the adoptive family. For us we elected to keep contact. I think it is healthy for children to know who and where they come from, not knowing such answers can give people lots of anxiety.

    We too keep a box of love holding treasures to give our birth moms. Our families (including my siblings) favorite holiday tradition is called Christmas Trees for Birth Moms. Every year we go into the mountains on Thanksgiving Weekend and cut down a beautiful Christmas Tree for each of our Birth Mothers. It gives the BM the opportunity to see the kids at least once a year when we give them the trees and its fun to see a pic of all of together and how we have all grown. Plus it teaches the kids a little bit about spirit of Christmas.

    I also have found that Birth Mothers are more apt to place babies for adoption with families that are willing to maintain contact after the adoption is complete.

    Thank you for your wonderful blog - it makes me happy to read other peoples experience with adoption. :)
    kjovus at gmail dot com



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