Creating Relationship with Birth Parents in Adoption (Even When It’s Hard!)

Ninety-five percent of domestic infant adoptions in the US have some degree of openness, so almost all adoptive parents need to think about creating a lasting healthy relationship with their child’s birth mother and birth father. Host Dawn Davenport, Executive Director of Creating a Family, the national infertility & adoption education and support nonprofit, interviews Brenda Romanchik, a therapist in private practice in Atlanta, Georgia, specializing in trauma and adoption issues. Her clients include children, adolescents and adults. She is also an adjunct professor for Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, teaching Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in the School of Social Work. She has written and presented widely on adoption and trauma issues. She is also a birth mother in an open adoption.

Hit the Highlights
  • Approximately 95% of domestic infant adoptions in the US have some degree of openness, so establishing and maintaining a relationship with our child’s birth parents is relevant to most adoptive parents.
  • The percentage is a little misleading because there is no universal definition of “open adoption”.
  • What makes an adoption an open adoption?
  • What amount of openness is best for kids?
  • Why is establishing a relationship hard?
  • Tips for adoptive parents and birth parents who are struggling to establish a relationship.
  • Socioeconomic differences between adoptive and birth families.
  • Racial differences between adoptive and first parents.
  • How to handle differences in parenting styles.
  • One of the issues that I see come up is setting boundaries. For example, when to share pics on social networks, when to drop by for an unannounced visit, etc.
  • Understanding our respective roles in our child’s life.
  • Feeling threatened by the birth mom’s role or the adoptive parent’s role.
  • When is openness not advisable?

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Image Credit: tiarescott