The days and weeks leading up to a visit with your child’s birth parents can be filled with nerves and emotions. You’re anxious to show them that your child is happy and well adjusted, but worried that the visit won’t be enjoyable for the birth parents or that you just won’t know what to say.

To calm your nerves, we’ve created a “How To” guide for making the most of visits with your child’s birth parents.

1. Choose a Fun Activity

When picking an activity for your meeting, you should look for things that everyone will enjoy. Something that the children will enjoy but that allows you ample time to get to know the birth parents.

Activities that everyone might enjoy include:

  • Going to the zoo
  • Playing on a playground
  • Having a picnic
  • Enjoying a theme park
  • Spending the day at the beach

2. Pay Attention to Your Child’s Feelings

Adopted children often have complex feelings surrounding their birth parents. Leading up to a visit you should talk with your child about these feelings. Asking them if they enjoy visits with their birth parents or if they understand the reason for the visit can start a conversation. Let them know it’s alright to share anything they might be feeling or thinking. Knowing that they can talk to you about their feelings in these situations can help them begin to process them.

3. Address Your Own Feelings

Sometimes adoptive parents have fears about contact with birth parents. They may think these visits will confuse the child or that the birth parents will begin to regret their decision. These are very common fears that should be addressed with your partner before visits. However, you should rest assured that a child having contact with his or her birth parents is extremely beneficial for all involved, and does not confuse a child about parental roles.

4. Help the Birth Parents Feel at Ease

We know, easier said than done, right? Conversations during these visits can be awkward if you haven’t had the chance to form a foundation yet. Fortunately, you have a built-in conversation starter: your child. If you’re nervous about keeping the conversation going take some time beforehand to come up with a few questions you have for the birth parents. If they’re in school, ask how classes are going. If they have other children, ask how things are going with them. Ask what their favorite hobbies and activities are and see if you have any mutual interests. Once you get started the conversation will flow naturally and you won’t have anything to worry about.

The most important thing to remember when visiting your child’s birth parents is to be yourself. They will be able to see that you are wonderful parents and that their child is thriving and happy in your home. Relax, you’re going to do great.