Navigating Sticky Relationships with Birth Families

How do you handle a birth parent showing up to a meeting with the child stoned or drunk? What do you do when a birth parent often breaks promises to the child? Join us to talk about nine sticky situations that adoptive parents often find themselves in and navigating relationships with birth families. Our guest is Lori Holden, the author of The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption: Helping Your Child Grow Up Whole.

In this episode, we cover:

  • What do we mean by openness and why is openness or some form of a relationship considered best for adopted kids?
  • Difficult/Sticky Situation #1: Birth Parent Addiction to drugs or alcohol.
    • How to handle things when a birth parent shows up for a meeting with a child high or stoned.
    • How to set healthy boundaries with birth parents who are addicted? How to set these boundaries when you have an open adoption with a birth parent dealing with addiction?
    • Explaining drug addiction of birth parents to children.
  • Difficult/Sticky Situation #2: Failing to show up for meetings/visits or showing up late?
    • Determining the cause.
    • How do you protect your child from disappointment?
    • How to handle it if the parents are struggling with substance abuse disorder.
  • Difficult/Sticky Situation #3: Making promises they can’t or won’t keep.
  • Difficult/Sticky Situation #4: Should you maintain any type of relationship with a birth parent who abused or neglected the child?
  • Difficult/Sticky Situation #5: How should parents deal with the obvious difference between openness in multiple adoptions within the same family?
  • Difficult/Sticky Situation #6: DNA testing. If the birth parents have not told others about the child, what obligation do you have to their desires as it relates to doing DNA testing on the child? What if there are medical reasons for doing the testing?
  • Difficult/Sticky Situation # 7: When the adoptive parent is the problem. Over-reacting, assuming the worst intentions, etc.
  • Difficult/Sticky Situation #8: Birth family doesn’t want contact.
  • Difficult/Sticky Situation #9: Birth siblings that are being parented by the birth parents.
  • Why should parents try to maintain relationships with the birth family in difficult situations?

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Music Credit: Michael Ashworth

Image Credit: Askar Abayev