Post-Placement: Ongoing Open Adoption
If you have an open adoption, then you probably worked out a contact agreement with the adoptive parents before the baby was born. Try to honor that agreement. They should be sending you pictures and letters on a regular basis. Remember that you are not co-parenting the baby. The adoptive parents are your child’s legal parents now.
However, if they have agreed to phone contact and/or visits,they probably wouldn’t mind if you called once in a while to see how the baby is.
What is important to remember in the first six - twelve months after placement
is that not only are you beginning to adjust to being a birthmother but your child’s adoptive parents are adjusting to being a family. Try to remember that this takes time. If you are not receiving pictures and letters in a timely fashion try not to take it personally. The adoptive parents may be dealing with issues of their own, facing struggles they did not foresee. You may have to have more patience and understanding this first year than you expected.
Also remember that if you did enter in an open agreement and are not receiving the follow-through as promised, before you become too upset,make an appointment with your counselor at the agency to find out if there's a problem.
Communication is critical during this first year and one of the toughest lessons you will learn. Before jumping to conclusions, becoming irate, or allowing yourself to get depressed, try to address the problems with your agency.
You may also be feeling during this first year that contact is far more difficult than you believed it would be. You may feel distant at times. You may have the urge to pull away. Many birthmothers
have expressed the feeling thatongoing visits can feel like saying goodbye over and over again. The first year of visits can be very painful.
The first six months is when you and the adoptive parents will develop the course of your relationship. Think of it as paving the road to a successful relationship. That may mean that there will be times when you will be required to compromise, wait, and to express your feelings and emotions when it feels very uncomfortable to do so.
If you are struggling with your open arrangement right now, or if there are issues that you did not expect to exist, we encourage you to work through the Post-Placement Workbook. Developing understanding, knowing how to express your needs, and learning how to deal with unmet expectations is vital.