Protecting our children from unnecessary confusion by setting boundaries with birth parents.
Open adoptions can be full of complex emotions. I have heard of many of different types of open adoption relationships. Some are smooth sailing while many have bumps in the road. “Boundaries” is a familiar topic when adoptive parents get together and discuss issues that arise in their relationship with their child’s first family. Most of us adoptive parents don’t like to set rules because we feel so honored to have this child entrusted to us. But when you look at boundaries as rule setting, you can set yourself up for failure. Instead, boundaries should be viewed as a method for maintaining a healthy relationship. Just as my family knows not to call too early in the morning or too late at night unless it’s an emergency, birth parents should know the limits of what we strive for to maintain normalcy. Setting the boundaries with the people in our lives means we can live comfortably, avoid unnecessary surprises, and not be annoyed because we didn’t let people know how we’d like our family to work.
Navigating an open adoption and the surprising emotions that come along with it mean that sometimes we say things before thinking. Communicating with the child as well as with each other is so important. To find out some tips on how to best communicate with your child placed for adoption, follow this link to adoption.com for more. You will find tips with communicating with the child, but that when in doubt having a conversation with the adoptive parents is always a good idea too. Together you can make sure the child’s best interests are always put first.
With the hustle and bustle of the busy holiday season, making sure your child’s birth family isn’t left out can sometimes be a challenge. Open adoption is a beautiful blessing, but can sometimes add extra stress to the holidays. I am a giver. My personality has a hard time saying no to anyone, so I often feel very much overwhelmed and then run down after the holidays because I don’t want to disappoint anyone or miss any special events. My husband and I both have parents that divorced and remarried, adding even more family to each side. We each have two sides with separate traditions to incorporate into each holiday. I too was married once before and share a son with my first husband. Then add in open adoption and it’s another branch of our family.
We have become good at creative celebrations. We are so lucky that new traditions have begun forming as the next generation adds new dynamics. We have been able to extend the holidays to alternative dates in order to accommodate everyone.
To read more about how to best prepare everyone for spending the holidays with your child’s birth family, click here to visit adoption.com.
Sitting in the rocking chair with my son on my lap, I read to him from a book. This isn’t an ordinary book, however. This is a Lifebook; a book all about him. This book begins with pictures and the story of his birth parents and gives child sensitive information regarding their path to creating an adoption plan. There are many reasons birth parents come to the decision to place their child for adoption. In some situations a child may be adopted at an older age or go through foster care. Whatever the reason, a Lifebook is a a historical book about your child.
What is a Lifebook? To find out click here to read the full story at adoption.com.
As adoptive parents, when we enter our journey, we have the end goal in mind of becoming parents. When children are adopted at birth or a very young age, we may not even consider that being adopted could one day cause them pain. The voices of adults who were adopted help me prepare myself for how to help my son grow stronger and hopefully cope with any pain he feels. I encourage adoptive parents to keep learning. To keep listening. To keep loving.
Aandra’s powerful story of healing and a poem she wrote for her birth mother is a must read. Click here to read her story on adoption.com.