Navigating Post-Placement Communication

Navigating Post-Placement Communication in an Open Adoption

Navigating Post-Placement Communication

When placing your baby for adoption, it can be difficult to choose a level of openness. In the end, it depends on how much contact you want with your child and their adoptive family. But what you want now may not be the same thing you want several years down the line. For those who are unsure, taking the time to inform yourself may be the best thing for you to do. Consider the benefits of thinking through the potential outcomes of the types of adoption—open adoption in particular. And we at All About U Adoptions can assist you with navigating post-placement communication in an open adoption. Our adoption specialists are available to you at any time to answer questions and help you work through uncertainties. 

Defining Open Adoption

When making your adoption plan, you have three levels of openness to choose from: open, semi-open, and closed. Each describes the type of communication you will be able to have with your child and their adoptive family. As the name implies, open adoption allows for full communication. Emails, phone calls, and even in-person visits are all potentially available to you. You and the adoptive family know each other’s names, addresses, and contact information. You can meet prospective adoptive families to form a personal opinion and make the choice that feels right to you. Your child will have the ability to contact you, ask questions, and build a relationship. You can do the same with the adoptive family.

Open communication and the building of a relationship, however, take time and trust. But if you want a relationship with your child and their adoptive family, it is important to make this effort. In the long run, it will benefit not just you, but also your child and their adoptive family. 

Benefits of Post-Placement Communication After Adoption in SD, NE, or ND

Engaging in post-placement communication is one of the defining aspects of a successful open adoption. But experiencing all the benefits open adoption can provide requires the building of trust and rapport with the adoptive family. To do so, take the time to learn about each other and set and respect boundaries. Doing so may offer benefits including:

  • After the baby is born, staying updated on how your child is doing. This may help you know that you made the right choice, as well as assist in the emotional healing process.
  • Similarly, the adoptive family can gain confidence regarding their place in their adopted child’s life. Respecting boundaries and their role as your child’s parents may help build trust between you.
  • Access to updated medical information for both families. For instance, if any genetic issues show up in you or the birth father, the adoptive family can stay informed. Alternatively, if your child experiences a health issue, updates can be shared with you immediately.
  • Friendship and a source of support. You and the adoptive family can ask each other questions, be there for each other, and take time to bond. 
  • Your child can understand their identity as it relates to their birth family, which may help relieve feelings of uncertainty
  • Your child will not feel the need to search for their birth family
  • Providing your child with a sense of security and belonging. They can know that their adoptive family chose them and their birth family cares for them. Additionally, open adoption provides them with not one, but two support networks.

Potential Challenges of Open Adoption and How to Overcome Them

Just like any adoption decision, open adoption has its difficulties. These potential challenges may include:

  • It may take some time for you to be ready to communicate. The adoptive family can assist by maintaining one-sided communication. That way, even if it takes some time, you know they are ready for you to join the conversation.
  • You or the adoptive family may break boundaries or your agreed communication schedule. In your case, it is important to rebuild any trust that was lost. Unfortunately, however, if the adoptive family stops communicating, you need to rely on the agency assistance to intervene.
  • The adoptive family may feel insecure regarding your relationship with your child. Allow them to set boundaries, respect them, and work on building a connection. Take the time to build trust and reassure them that you have no intention of taking your child away.
  • You and the adoptive family might expect different things from each other, and be disappointed if those expectations are not met. In this case, practicing communication and being realistic is important. 
  • Differences in values and parenting styles. Remember, adoption is about ensuring your child’s well-being. Disagreeing with how they are being raised does not mean you chose the wrong adoptive family. Instead, think of it as a learning opportunity.
  • Life changes—such as moving to a new state—may make in-person visits difficult, but not necessarily impossible. Consider potential solutions. For instance, perhaps the adoptive family will fly out to you—or you to them—for certain holidays. 

Communication Methods and Arranging Visits Post-Open Adoption

Open adoption places a variety of communication methods at your disposal. These may include letters and packages as well as emails, texts, and the exchange of photos. You and the adoptive family might also choose to engage in phone calls, video chats, and even in-person visits. It is up to what both you and the adoptive family are comfortable with, which may change over time.

Planning post-placement visits may take some time and effort. Factors that need to be considered may include:

  • Where you and the adoptive family live. The farther you are apart, the more travel planning there is to be made. 
  • How often you will meet in person, and for how long
  • Where you will meet. The adoptive family may not be comfortable with you coming to their home—or vice versa—at least at first. Choosing a neutral location may make you both more comfortable and receptive to communication.
  • What you will be doing. Spending time at a coffee shop may encourage communication, but may leave you uncomfortable if communication flounders. Consider going to locations that provide activities for all included parties, such as museums, bookstores, playgrounds, or similar places. 

Is Open Adoption Right for You?

Choosing a type of adoption can be a difficult decision. It may be hard to decide what you will want several years from now before your adoption is even finalized. And if you are experiencing an unwanted or unplanned pregnancy, you may be unsure whether you want a relationship at all. If you do not know what the right choice is for you, our adoption agency can help. At All About U Adoptions, our adoption specialists are here to answer questions and help you make decisions. In the end, if you have any desire to build a relationship, choosing open adoption may be the best plan. 

All About U Adoptions prepares all adoptive families for an open adoption, even if their birth mother wants a closed one.  AAU families are prepared to open up a semi-open or closed adoption down the road if the birth mother decides she wants that. 

Open adoption in South Dakota, Nebraska, or North Dakota, however, provides both pros and cons to contend with. Relationships and support systems can be forged, but that requires building trust. Communication and flexibility are necessary to ensure boundaries and expectations are communicated and agreed upon. In short, open adoption takes work. But if you put in the effort, it can benefit everyone involved.

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