As an agency, American Adoptions is passionate about encouraging open adoptions between birth parents and adoptive parents whenever possible. Open communication in an adoptive relationship benefits birth mothers and adoptive parents, but most importantly, it can be extremely positive in an adoptee’s life — and that in itself is benefit enough.
Since 1991, American Adoptions has seen the beautiful relationships that stem from open communication in adoptions, and we believe in it strongly enough that we do have certain open adoption requirements for our adoptive families. (More on these below.) However, we do understand that adoptive and birth parents alike can feel some pressure in these situations, and that building a relationship with the other party can seem intimidating.
If this is how you’re currently feeling about open communication in an adoptive relationship, whether as a prospective birth mother or an adoptive parent, it’s completely understandable. You’ve been through a lot to get to the point where you’re thinking about adoption, and it’s okay to be nervous. Please remember as you read through our open adoption requirements for adoptive parents below that American Adoptions will always be here to help you facilitate this relationship and set boundaries when needed. If you are a pregnant woman reading this, know that it is always up to you to decide whether you would prefer more or less contact with an adoptive family than the requirements below indicate.
The following adoptive family requirements are designed with your child’s best interests in mind. As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at 1-800-ADOPTION with any questions.
- Be open to sharing last names. No one at our agency will ever share your identifying information without your permission, nor do you have to provide it to a birth mother who doesn’t ask for it. However, should a pregnant woman who is considering placing her child for adoption with you ask for your last name, you should be open to providing it to her. You will know hers, and this is a trust-building step. She is thinking about trusting you with the most precious thing in her life, and it’s only fair that you extend trust to her as well. It’s also important to note that, via hospital or court documents, last names can sometimes be discovered unintentionally due to the intimate nature of the adoption process.
- Be willing to share direct communication with your child’s birth parents via email and phone contact. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you will regularly communicate with your child’s birth mother, but it is necessary to provide a way for quick and direct communication if needed. How regularly that communication occurs — and what method works best for you and your family — will be completely up to you and your child’s birth mother. By getting to know her and her needs during the adoption process, you can work to establish what you’re both comfortable with prior to placement. Your adoption specialist will help to facilitate these conversations as well.
- Be willing to have a post-placement visit with your child’s birth parents within your child’s first five years. Again, this visit will only happen if the birth mother requests it. Not all women will feel comfortable with this level of contact, but for those that do, it will be an opportunity for them to see their child thriving and to reassure them that adoption was the right choice. In addition to fostering a relationship between the adoptive and birth parents, in-person visits are an excellent opportunity for everyone to ask and answer questions regarding the child and the adoption. Some families choose to have more frequent in-person visits, but this depends entirely on the parties involved.
The most important thing to remember about these open adoption requirements is that they are all centered around the child. If there is ever a situation where any of the above are not in the child’s best interests, that will of course be accommodated. Please remember that American Adoptions will always be there to help you learn to communicate with your child’s birth parents and to discover what works best for you.
To speak with a social worker about these open adoption requirements and why they exist, or to begin the adoption process, please call 1-800-ADOPTION at any time.