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Adopting? Plan Your Own Journey

Are you planning an open adoption? If so, congratulations! This is a very exciting journey. Among the many elements to consider is how you want to structure your open adoption plan. There are so many aspects to think about when developing your plan. Which values or ideals are most important to you? What kind of contact do you want to have? Ultimately, how does this journey look for you? Here are a few things to keep in mind while developing your plan:

  1. What does “contact” mean to you? The idea of what constitutes an open adoption varies based on the individuals involved. Before you finalize anything with your child’s birth parents, make sure you’re clear about how you define open adoption. Does that mean letters and pictures? Visits? If so, how many? Are you comfortable with unannounced phone calls? Would you like for this arrangement to change over time, or would you prefer to be firm in the parameters up front? Remember, there is no right or wrong answer to any of these questions. Consider what makes you the most comfortable and make sure that’s clearly outlined in your plan and communicated to both your agency and birth family.
  2. How do you want to facilitate communication with your birth mother? Do you want everything to go through you? Will your child ever be able to spend any time alone, on the phone or in-person, with their birth parents? Do you plan to schedule regular phone calls or keep communication to letters only? It’s important that both your expectations and values match. You don’t want to assume that there will be a monthly phone call if she’s not prepared to make that commitment. You don’t want her to expect a certain level of contact if you’re not prepared to offer it. It’s not about either side being right, it’s about making sure both are on the same page.
  3. Do not commit to what you cannot fully honor. Once you have set an agreement with your child’s birth parents, you absolutely, under every circumstance, have to honor it. And that goes for both sides. Being honest up front will help the process of matching with a birth parent who shares similar values. It is traumatic and damaging for either side to make an agreement that is violated later down the line. Additionally, keep in mind how these decisions affect the child involved. It’s a lot to have to know up front, but maintaining the integrity of your commitment is imperative.

Have you developed and implemented your own adoption plan? If so, feel free to offer any tips that worked for your family and birth family.

*Image via Popsugar.