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When is adoption too open..

So we have an open adoption for my now 2 year old son whom we have had since he left the hospital.  Not to give out too much identifying information but the bmom didn’t really have any major issues or anything. She basically just wasn’t ready for a child all on her own. I always felt from the beginning that I wanted her involved as much as she wanted to be in my son’s life which she expressed as something she really wanted. I usually send pics once a week. I text her with all major milestones. I keep her updated on medical visits.  She has an open invitation to visit at my home with a few week notice. She is allowed to send him things. Her family is allowed to send him things and can visit a couple of times a year in public places. Even with all this offered no one from his biological family seems interested. She hasn’t seen him in a year and her family hasn’t seen him since birth. My question is am I allowing too much openness? Should I back off and let them come to me instead of me always being the one who tries to get them in his life?  Any thoughts?


It could be that she truly has no interest and it is a chapter of her life that she wants to put behind her. Or she could enjoy every little update and picture, but just doesn’t know what to say or do in response; she may be afraid of intruding too much in your life or fear saying the wrong thing. Or it might all be very painful for her, and every update might be a bittersweet reminder of what she doesn’t have. I would write her a letter, tell her that you are happy to continue doing what you do now but that you don’t want to overwhelm her by sharing too much. what she thought she would feel when you first made your adoption agreement might be very different from what she is actually feeling now that some time has passed. I would ask her what level of contact she would like and go from there. if you don’t get a response, I would continue to send the occaisional update and keep the lines of communication open, but maybe not quite as much.

Posted by rn4kidz on Oct 14, 2017 at 1:26am

Well you are REALLY open but since no is taking advantage of it there is no need to specify a change. If it was me I would slowly back off some.  Even monthly pictures and updates is generous. Keep in mind first mom has a life without you. She needs time to heal and emotionally adjust to her decision.  Give her space. Consider starting a secret Facebook group with just the two of you in it so you can post the updates and pictures and she can check it when she wants that way you don’t overwhelm her. If she decides to visit she can contact you don’t push.

Posted by C3 on Oct 14, 2017 at 1:31am

I think you are both right. Maybe me wanting to make sure my son knows his biological family and know he is loved by all is causing her pain. I truly do know her decision was so she could have a life of her own and I respect her for that. I guess my best bet is to do the normal open adoption thing with monthly updates and pics. Allow her time to heal and build her own life and let her decide the amount she wants involved. Maybe all she does want is the occasional update. I’ve asked her before and she sends so many mixed signals but I’m sure it has to do with her healing. We didn’t have any type of agreement. The papers actually say contact is up to us but my husband and I decided our son deserved to at least know his biological family.  I guess i kond of took that to the extreme lol.

Posted by Veryblessedmama on Oct 14, 2017 at 1:56am

I wouldn’t say you took it to the extreme. Everyone is different! Our son is five now and we have had constant contact with both his birth mom and birth family, mostly the grandmother and an on call. Our birth mom was just 16, so that may make a difference, depending on how old your birth mom is. She is not saying stop sending the pictures, so I wouldn’t stop. Maybe ask her if she is on any support groups on Facebook or something. I know there’s a group called birth mom buds but support each other. She may find something like that helpful. And maybe it is just too hard for her, so I think I would try to write the letter emphasizing you are trying to do what is best for her.

Posted by maryohio on Oct 14, 2017 at 2:25pm

The question that popped to my mind was—How far do you all live from one another? Perhaps it’s difficult for them to physically get to you?

Also was wondering if you told birth mom you wanted to come to them if that would make a difference.

Posted by Barbara Herel on Oct 14, 2017 at 2:30pm

I actually spoke to her last night about the pics and she said she enjoys getting them and doesn’t want me to stop sending them but they are kind of bitter sweet for her. I think she just wants to visit at Christmas or possibly birthday. She actually lives pretty close but her family is states away so thinking about it i can see why they don’t visit and who knows maybe they feel uncomfortable.  Im going to ask her about a support group because at times its like he passed away to her and she is grieving a death.  Not ever adopting before my son or being a bmom myself im not sure if that is healthy or not. I think my best course of action is to continue pics but kind of start stepping back some so she can live her life.  The biological family knows how to get ahold of me if they want a visit or to send him something and bmom does also.

I so appreciate all of your comments. It’s great to have people to get advice from because sometimes it’s hard to know the right thing to do for an adopted child. You always want to do what’s best but at times that’s a hard call to make.

Posted by Veryblessedmama on Oct 14, 2017 at 4:19pm

First, there is no such thing as a ‘normal’ open adoption.  Nor are open adoptions the same from family to family or child to child. Every family is different in the level of openness they have with each other.  That also changes and molds itself while the child ages. This continues until the child is able to take over the relationship on his/her own.

Second, do not close off or back off.  Keep up the same level while being respectful of the birth family.  Remember you are doing this for your child.  It is you that will be answering those questions about contact when he is a teen.

Open adoption is a tightrope walk of respectfulness of the birth family while maintaining contact for your child. Mis-communication is common, so keep those lines open.  Ask questions gently.  The book - The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption: Helping Your Child Grow Up Whole is a worth while read.

Posted by justaminion on Oct 16, 2017 at 2:58pm

The other part that no one has mentioned is what is healthy for you and your family, and thus your child. She is now your child. She will always have another birth family and what the level of connection will be remains to be seen.But your responsibility is primarily to raise your child, while fostering those connections or making them available to her if it is not harmful, or to the extent that it is beneficial. I would say if it is taking too much of your energy, scale back a bit. It is not your responsibility, nor are you required to do all in the connection with birth family. In fact you can not do all - it at some point is between them and your daughter.Similar to the way you can foster connections between your daughter and extended family, but in the end you can not do it all - it has to come from both the child’s feelings, desires, and the relatives efforts and bonds with her.

Posted by Happy Camper on Dec 21, 2017 at 3:14am

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