5 Ways to Maintain a Relationship with Your Child’s Birth Parent Struggling with Addiction – Adoption.com

addictionPublished 6/10/15

Addiction is a complicated disease that doesn’t discriminate based on race, class, education, or age. Before drug addiction plagued my family, it was something I didn’t quite understand. I knew alcohol and tobacco were addictive. I even had heard of addictive personality traits and addictions to activities like gambling or shopping. But the drug addiction of today is an epidemic that isn’t getting better. Depending on the substance a person is addicted to, detox can be dangerous, and treatment and recovery can be near-impossible. I recently lost my big brother to heroin addiction. It is through that loss, and helping another family member through the same addiction, that I have realized just how difficult it is to love a person suffering from addiction.

Maintaining a relationship with an addict is challenging and frustrating. Loving someone unconditionally does not mean you have to love their disease. It does not mean you have to condone their habit. It does not mean you have to pick up their messes. Here are some ways I have learned to focus on the relationship while also recognizing the addiction. If you are struggling to maintain a relationship with your child’s birth parent because they suffer from addiction, hopefully these tips will help you.

For the list of ways to support and understand addiction, please continue reading at adoption.com.

7 Considerations for Communicating with Your Birth Child – Adoption.com

Protecting our children from unnecessary confusion by setting boundaries with birth parents.

CommunicatingWithYourBirthChildOpen 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.

Words Don’t Have to Hurt – Adoption.com

The words people use aren’t always appropriate, but it doesn’t make them bad.

TwoRealMomsTwoRealDads“Where is her real mom?” or “Why did his real mom give him up?” Sometimes the things people say to us make us cringe. We get defensive and sometimes fire back the answer with the intent to offend or belittle the person asking. We react because it causes us pain. It attacks that soft spot of infertility that not having biological children left many of us with. It may reopen a wound we thought had closed. We fear it may confuse our child. We worry about how the words of others will affect the emotions of our little ones. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. While that little rhyme might not always be true, we do have power to decide what we allow to hurt us.

One thing I have learned, and maybe it’s thanks to many friends in the adoption groups I am involved in, is that I don’t have to take everything personally. To read more about why I don’t think words are always meant or used with ill intentions? Follow this link to adoption.com to understand why I personally have used the word “real” many times in talking about biological family members.

Why I Love Open Adoption – Adoption.com

wearemotherhoodIt was a brisk afternoon, and we had just returned from the outlet mall where we had bought the boys new gym shoes. Our youngest son, Ezra, was running around the yard and chasing after a football. As I fondly watched on, snapping a few adorable pictures on my phone, one of my first thoughts was to share a photo with his birth mom. I remembered she had recently asked if he has started to run yet, so I switched over to video and recorded a short clip of him running across the yard. Her response was quick and full of joy. “Look at him run. I love it. It almost looks like he’s been running and walking for years!” I typed back “He’s a pro!” and her next message was when it hit me… she said “I’m so proud.”

To read more about our open adoption and why I love it, click here to continue on adoption.com.

Why Our Family Doesn’t Celebrate Gotcha Day – Adoption.com

BittersweetAdoption-13-300x150It was an unusually warm January day in 2013. The expectant mother and I had grown quite close in the short time we had known each other. She had a bad case of bronchitis. As a result, she was not getting much sleep and growing dehydrated. Her amniotic fluid was decreasing, so we were going to the hospital every few days for a non-stress test and fluid check. We had our overnight bags packed, anticipating that one of these visits would result in the big day coming a few weeks early. That day was The Day. We called our spouses so they could meet us there. Things were about to get moving. Good thing she and I grabbed lunch on our way!

“Gotcha Day” can come with many emotions for people on all sides of the triad.  From the term “gotcha” symbolizing an object to be gotten or the way you say “gotcha” when you scare or trick someone, to just not wanting to celebrate something that could have been emotionally devastating for others in the triad.  Click here to see why our family doesn’t celebrate Gotcha Day on adoption.com.

Adoption Guilt?

guilt-07Adoption comes with complex emotions. Often, the emotions are consuming and misunderstood. One of the emotions that a lot of adoptive parents unexpectedly find themselves feeling is guilt. It can come as a surprise if you find yourself suddenly overwhelmed with emotions that you translate as guilt after you have adopted. It is not uncommon to feel adoption guilt…

It is normal to feel a wide variety of emotions while adopting.  The emotions can change minute to minute, day to day or year to year.  Being empathetic to the other members, while keeping things in perspective only help us learn and grow.  To read the full article, visit adoption.com.

What is Open Adoption?

WhatIsOpenAdoption-05Being so involved in the adoption community, it’s natural that I get a lot of inquiries from friends and random people seeking help in beginning their adoption journey.  One of the things I have to often remind myself is that I was once in their shoes.  In today’s adoption climate, open adoption is the norm.  But that doesn’t mean that everyone in the early stages of adoption knows about open adoption or is immediately comfortable with the idea…

To read the full article, please visit adoption.com