Adoptions: 7 Greatest Reasons To Contact Birth Parents6 min read
Truth be told but we no longer live in a time where the truth of adoption is kept from a child. It helps the adopted child make sense of their past and how they want to move forward with their lives, and of course their biological chart. As adoptive parents (or prospects) you owe it to them.
The benefits, however, go beyond your child’s sense of identity; it helps you build a relationship on a solid foundation and grow closer as a family. So if you are considering adopting, or are foster parents, or an adopted child yourself it will certainly be a good idea to contact the birth parents.
Open vs. Closed Adoption
Before we proceed, it’s important to know and understand two types of adoption. Closed adoption was the norm in the past where adoptive parents would put their names on an agency’s list, and the agency would make a match for them. The adoptive parents and birth parents would not meet, and even if they know of each other they don’t stay in touch. The files are sealed once the adoption is closed, and the children might remain in the dark about their adoption.
However, open adoptions are growing more popular recently. Adoptive parents and birth parents meet up before the adoption takes place, and they usually remain in touch. The degree of openness depends on the involved parties; how often they would interact depends on their circumstances. All adoption agencies now encourage some level of openness as it eliminates the mystery (or fantasy) from the process and everything becomes more clear. The children, as well as you, now have access to their history which helps with the ability to grow closer as a family.
Why Contacting Birth Parents is a Good Idea
Contacting birth parents can prove to be helpful for all the parties involved – adoptee, adoptive parents, even the birth parents.
For Birth Parents
Whatever their circumstances might be, as birth parents get to check in on their babies their ability to deal with their loss, over time it improves when they find comfort in knowing that their child is loved and being taken care of. As opposed to complete termination of their parental rights, this communication allows them to watch over their child and maybe even have a say in the major decisions of their life. It does not make it any harder than it already is.
For Adoptive Parents
As you, an adoptive parent, reach out to the birth parents you get a better understanding of your child’s history. In many cases, biological parents get to choose the adoptive family, and nothing brings more delight to the adoptive parents than knowing that they have been chosen to foster a kid. They can shower their love and affection to their new family member without any fear that the biological parents may enter the picture to reclaim their child; they have earned their parental rights justly which automatically increases their confidence. Owing to the mutual understanding and empathy there is even a potential for developing an authentic relationship between the two families.
For the Adoptee
No one benefits more than the adopted person when biological parents are contacted. Here’s why:
Identity Questions Will Have Answers
Having information about their birth parents eliminates their need to search for their heritage as well as any endless thoughts related to their past; it won’t leave them wondering if their parents are Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. All their questions about family history, biological chart, whether or not they will go bald before graduating college will be just a phone call away. As natural as it may seem to you and me, finding resolutions answers to these questions can be a dream come true for an adoptee.
Updated Medical Records
Upon adoption, adoptive families receive an intensive medical history report of the birth parents but is only limited to the information available at the time of adoption. If you contact birth parents you can have updated medical records which will help your adopted child watch out for any hereditary diseases. Thus, your child needs to know better to exercise more and go easy on cheat meals.
Eliminate the Sense of Abandonment
As your child gets to know their birth parents and understands the reason why they had to be put up for adoption, their nomadic notion flies out of the window, which in turn helps them develop a stronger sense of belonging to their adoptive family.
Two Sets of Parents
There’s nothing as too much love! When you allow the birth parents to remain in contact with your child, you’re bringing in more love into their life. Your child will grow up with a large support system which more likely
to improve their self-esteem and reduce the possibility of them struggling with depression or anxiety.
Two Books We Recommend
To further ease your dilemma of whether or not you should contact the birth parents, we recommend you give these books a read:
What’s the deal with these books, you might ask. Well, here’s what:
As you can tell by the name, this book offers practical advice on how to search for birth family and what to expect at the end of the journey. The book sheds light on the search process and reunion from all perspectives. It is well written and easy to understand with thoughtful advice and summaries at the end of each chapter. This book proves to be an invaluable handbook for anyone involved in the process – be it from a personal or professional standpoint.
Being Adopted: The Lifelong Search for Self by David Brodzinsky, Marshall Schechter, and Robin Henig
This evidence-based, well-written piece will give you a full understanding of what it is like to be adopted and the stages an adoptee goes through in life. If you are an adoptee, an adoptive parent, or are considering adoption, we recommend you read this book as it will give you a better perspective of the developmental psychology and emotional cycles of an adopted person.
As the world of adoption advances towards a more fact-oriented process, it should be a good idea to contact the birth parents. Any information about biological relatives, even something as little as their favorite flavor of yogurt will go a long way. So whatever your involvement may be in the adoption process, contacting birth parents during or after an adoption is a healthier approach as all parties benefit from it; it’s a good life for everyone!