Open Adoption Options
- Pre-placement meeting/s with birthmother/birthfather/birth family. These meetings are typically a first step once an adoptive family has been selected and the family has agreed. The meeting is usually held at a mutually acceptable location, the agency, a restaurant, a park, etc. It is a getting-acquainted meeting and is not designed to work out details of an adoption. The caseworker typically attends this first meeting to help everyone relax and talk comfortably.
- Involvement in Dr. appointments. Some Birthmoms really want the adoptive parents or adoptive mom to be involved in Dr.’s appointments and some do not. It is up to her. Be prepared to respond positively if she asks for you to be involved in these appointments. Even if you have work schedules that might make it challenging, sometimes the Birthmom will try to schedule appointments around your schedule. If she asks you to be involved, it is probably very important to her and she sees it as a gift to you to get to see and hear the baby growing and developing.
- Telephone contact. Some Birthmoms/Birthdads like to have telephone contact with the adoptive parents during the pregnancy and some would like for it to continue after placement. Many adoptive parents also want the option of phone calls. This can be done via cell phones, which provide a measure of protection for both sides.
- Send letters/pictures to birthparent/s. Many birthparents wish to receive a collection of pictures along with a letter describing the child’s growth and development on some agreed-upon schedule. They typically prefer a collection of snapshots vs studio shots. They usually prefer an assortment of pictures of the child alone and with other family members. They can be sent directly to the birthparent, if acceptable, or sent through the agency.
- Receive letters/pictures from birthparent/s. Some birthparents wish to send letters, pictures, cards or gifts to the adoptive family and/or the child. Some adoptive families want this contact as well. If this is agreed upon, the adoptive parents retain the ability to decide what is appropriate to share with the child and at what age. These can be sent directly to the adoptive family, if acceptable, or through the agency.
- Letters/pictures to/from others in birth family. Occasionally, there is a birth grandparent who makes a request for contact of some kind or to receive or send letters or pictures. Legally, birth grandparents have no rights related to the adoption. Therefore, it is very important to respect the birthparents wishes in regard to contact with any other birth family members.
- Face-to-face contact after placement. Post placement visits, when agreed upon, are usually designated by time and frequency in the Open Adoption Agreement. It will also be delineated who is to initiate the visits. Often the initiation of a visit is left up to the birthparent so that if they cannot do a visit for emotional, logistical or financial reasons, they won’t be forced to comply. The visits occur at a time and place that is agreed upon by adoptive parents and the birthparent. Most often this is in a neutral location such as a park, a restaurant, the zoo, etc. Some adoptive families feel comfortable having birthparents visit in their home, but it is not required. Visits are usually of a duration that is well tolerated by the child, typically an hour or two. It is a visit with the birthparent, the adoptive family and the child, all together.