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Need Advice on Birth Mother and Bio Sibling Contact

We finalized the adoption of our son a month ago, to our joy! He is our first and only child. Thus far, our relationship with our BM (birth mom) has been just as if we are Facebook Friends. She has been fairly detached . We have a closed adoption with the want on her side for her 1.5 year old son to know his bio brother (our son) in life. She wants to have frequent interactions whenever we are in the state visiting. We always agreed that our son would be able to choose for himself when he is old enough to understand. This week however, she became upset that we would not send pics to the BF(birth father)‘s family. He was abusive of his child and wife and they are getting divorced. We do not want that door open to him or his family and have told her so. She said she wanted his family to know our son. I was respectful and only spoke lovingly to her, but we won’t allow that. She then asked for more contact for her and her son with our son. I’m not sure if we should cut ties with her, or not. Family and my fellow adoptive parents friends have advised us to cut off ties and block her from facebook, but I don’t want to hurt her but also want the best for our son. So any advice, would be greatly welcomed.


The security and safety of your child are your first responsibilities.  It seems to me that this may open the door to some problems in the future.  If you decided to have a closed adoption, why are you working towards an open adoption?  I would go back to your caseworkers and counselors and take their advice.  Always let your son know he was adopted, but make sure you have the ground rules set regarding birth families ahead of time.  My 2 cents - it’s late smile

Posted by David Michael on Sep 08, 2018 at 7:12am

It is incredibly important for your son’s sake that you help foster a positive relationship with his birth family. If you are being given an opportunity to build a relationship with his birth mother and sibling, work to make that happen. Don’t leave it up to your son to decide when he is older. The time to build a relationship is now and it starts with you. As for the birth father, his family is still your son’s family. Obviously if he is an abusive person you have to protect your child from that person, but I’m not sure what that has to do with the rest of his family.
I suggest you find an adoption competent counselor (not from the adoption agency) who has experience helping adoptive families navigate the complexities of open adoption. While it may seem less scary and more convenient for you to cut off ties, how will you explain that to your son when he is older? It is far far better for him to have a relationship with his birth family from the beginning and grow with those relationships being a normal part of his life than to be left to wonder why they don’t want him around.
And it’s very common for a birth parent to think they want a closed adoption at first and then to want more contact later.  It’s impossible to know at the moment of placement how she would feel later. I urge you to help your son develop a healthy relationship with his birth family.
For the record, I’m both an adoptee and an adoptive parent. Please seek advice from actual adoptees and not just other adoptive parents. The difference in perspective can be very enlightening. There are many adoption groups on Facebook that can help.

Posted by susanasully on Sep 08, 2018 at 11:13am

I totally agree with susanasully. Both our children are adopted and both find connection to birth family very very important. Our son has several birth siblings and he sees most of them, some more than others . He also occasionally sees other birth family. This connection, even if it is infrequent, is so incredibly important to him. He really just wants to know they are there and that the door is open. On the other hand, some of his birth family members are not healthy contacts and we do not have a relationship with them. He is 10.

Unfortunately our daughter’s adoption is closed and I can’t tell you the heartache this causes her. If I could help her make contact I would but she was surrendered under the safe surrender program so there is no info. She is 8.

I would also encourage you to speak to adult adoptees and get their perspectives. For many/most adoptees, connection to birth siblings is particularly important, often more than any other birth family connection. I know for my own children, if they found out later that we deliberately kept them from having a line of open communication with birth families, they would be devastated.

Of course when safety is a concern, your child comes first. My son has no contact with birth mom because of this. But from your post it seems the only real concern is the birth dad who has not even asked for contact.

Posted by Lucy2012 on Sep 08, 2018 at 1:46pm

Don’t cut off contact completely. Decide on a level of contact you are comfortable with, set up some guidelines for birthmom that fall within you comfort zone and communicate those boundaries to her, and stick to the guiedlines. It can be difficult to handle a birthparent who pushes for more contact than you are comfortable with, but for your son’s sake you should try. It is true that you need to keep him safe, but mom pestering for more contact doesn’t actually create a danger to him. It is so important for kids to have that link to their history. my daughter is 10 now, we have contact with grandma and limited contact with bio mom. We would actually like to have more contact with birthmom, but she does not reciprocate. My daughters interest in her birth family goes through phases, sometimes she is intensely interested in knowing about them, sometimes she doesn’t seem to care at all, sometimes she is very angry with her birthmom. I adjust the level of contact according to what her needs at the moment seem to be, but overall it has been so good for her to have the contact. She loves learning about things she “gets” from her birthfamily. her hazel eyes turn green when she’s upset, just like her grandmas. She gets sick in the car just like her birthmom did (and birthmom outgrew it so now she hopes she will too!). Little things, but they mean so, so much to my daughter, even at a very young age. sometimes she will say things like. “i hate math, who do you think i get that from” and we will send grandma a message to find out. She was curious to see pictures of her birthmom when she was small, to see if they looked alike, so we just sent a message and got some. she developed a funny brown patch on her neck, and doctors were all freaking out it was a sign of an endocrine disorder, until we found out birthmom had an identical patch on her neck and it was just hereditary.  and sometimes my daughter just needs the contact, she’ll be feeling sad about being adopted and want to call them. There have just been so many things we have gotten from the relationship. If you close the door now and your son wants contact in the future,you may find that it is not easy to locate the family or to establish a relationship with them so late in the game. if you need to limit contact for now then do so, but I wouldn’t shut that door completely.

Posted by rn4kidz on Sep 08, 2018 at 2:02pm

susanasully, I am actually an adoptive child. My dad adopted me when I was three, and I have made contact with my biological grandmother and half brother after I was 18. *my birth father passed away before I could meet him, but I doubt he would have wanted a relationship with me anyways based on what I know of him. So part of me thinks I should raise my son the same way, to know he is adopted, but wait until he is old enough to decide if he wants to make contact or not and support him either way. But the other part of me does not want to hurt our birth mom, whom we love, and her son. I just don’t feel comfortable involving the birth fathers family, since they are not stable and he is dangerous. I don’t regret how I was raised, and feel very adjusted. I don’t consider my birth father’s mother to be my grandma, but she does consider me her granddaughter, especially since I made contact with her. My half brother, is in high school still, so I try to keep contact with him, for his sake as he is an only child, but in my heart I don’t really consider him a sibling. (meaning when people ask how many siblings I have, I automatically say I have three younger sisters, and almost always forget my half brother.) Not sure if that is the right way to feel about it, but I can’t help it.

Posted by MammaTRex_Lex on Sep 08, 2018 at 3:10pm

What m4kidz said. I went into adoption thinking we would have a semi-open adoption with yearly pictures and reports, but then I saw that short video doc of adoptees in their teens and 20s talking about their open adoptions. The more transparency and openness there was, the more well-adjusted and happy the kids were. So I always ask myself: am I considering this because it’s the best thing for my daughter or because it will make my life easier?

It’s not easy keeping up contact with our daughter’s family. I don’t really want to share her, her birth town is not entirely safe, there are some issues with drugs, and it’s emotionally and financially taxing visiting them several states away. But we know from the research that it’s the best possible thing we could do for our daughter. She won’t have any mysteries or questions or voids, and she’ll never feel like she has to choose between us or like we were keeping them from her. (Because that’s what I suspect your son’s birthmom will tell him when he eventually meets up with her.)

Obviously you have to construct some boundaries, especially where safety is concerned, but cutting off all contact could blow up in your face later on. Sure, it may make things easier for you (and mama I hear you on that desire!), but is it really the best thing for your son who will be curious and have questions?

Posted by JNC on Sep 08, 2018 at 3:31pm

From your second post it sounds like you were adopted by your dad but he was married to your birth mother. Not sure if that is right but what I surmised. So you had plenty of contact with your bio family and grew up with bio siblings. That is a very different situation. Not sure if any other adult adoptees are reading this thread but from my experiences and from what I have read, adoptees do see their birth siblings as brothers and sisters. My son definitely does.

The majority of the advice you have gotten thus far is great. Also, if birth mom and brother are in another state, I can’t imagine contact would be very frequent. As for birth dad and family, if you consider them to be dangerous, then it is a no brainer: avoid them. Hurting birth mom’s feelings would be a secondary concern to the child’s safety.

Posted by Lucy2012 on Sep 08, 2018 at 5:50pm

(Haven’t read the other comments.)


You need to read the book “The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption,” by Lori Holden. It should be required reading for everyone in adoption, whether open or not.

You’ve been a mom for 1 month. You’re still insecure in your role. You may not want to acknowledge that you are, but we all were insecure in our roles at the beginning. Even bio parents are, and adopting adds a whole new layer of insecurity.

Would you wait until your son is “old enough” to choose to have a relationship with his grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins? By forcing your son to wait until he’s “old enough” to choose to have a relationship with his birth family, you’re essentially saying that it is not important to you that your son has that relationship. Your son is going to realize this, and, to avoid hurting you, may end up foregoing a relationship. THAT IS ONLY GOING TO HURT HIM.

My son’s birth family is OUR family. My daughter’s birth parents are also OUR family. Just like when I married my husband, and his family became mine, when we adopted our children, their family members became ours.

In addition to reading the book “The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption,” I invite you to join the Creating a Family Facebook group. It’s a group that involves adoptive parents, birth parents, and adoptees. You need to listen to adoptees right now.

Posted by rredhead on Sep 09, 2018 at 1:15am

Adding that I agree with susansully and Lucy2012.

I can also tell you what a blessing it has been to have my children’s birth families in their lives. My kids do consider their siblings who were not placed for adoption to be their siblings, completely.

Step-parent adoption is a whole different situation than traditional adoptions. You really can’t compare your own feelings to what your son is likely going to go through.

Posted by rredhead on Sep 09, 2018 at 1:19am

We have an open relation ship with our daughters bio mom   and our daughters biological sibling, but not with the bio dad.  I agree with what the others have said about open communication but I would NOT have a relationship with the bio dad at this point.

Protecting your child is paramount and if he is dangerous then he should not have contact with the child.  Our daughters bio dad is a pedophile and he is on the national sexual predators list and I will NOT let our daughter have any contact with him.  He seems to not want any either and that works well for us.  The birth mom has respected our decision and has not pushed for us to have contact with the bio dad which has been a huge support for our family.  Our daughter has asked about the bio dad and we explained (in child friendly terms) that he was not a nice guy, did some bad things and spent time in jail.  I told her that we did not feel it was safe at this point in time and she was totally accepting of the info. 

We have been open and honest with her from the start and she has known from the start that she is adopted.  She also knows that she can come to us at any time with any questions.  Good luck and stay strong.

Posted by Special K on Sep 11, 2018 at 12:02am

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