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Tips for navigating the relationships in open adoptions

Congratulations! You are about to become parents through an open adoption. You're excited about the awe-inspiring relationship you will develop with your bundle of love.

But what about the relationship with the birth parents? You may be less enthusiastic about the potential complications that can accompany open adoptions. But fear not, as setting boundaries early and officially (in writing) can allow the relationship to grow organically within the parameters you are comfortable establishing. Below are a few things to keep in mind when entering into an open adoption.

Who will have access to your baby?

Some open adoptions only involve the biological mom, the adoptive parents and the child. Others may include the bio dad, grandparents and even other extended family of the birth parents. It's important that the adoptive parents realize that they have the right to approve or refuse contact with anyone they feel may be obtrusive to their own relationship with their child.

What happens if the birth parents don't honor the agreement?

It takes a great deal of strength, maturity and emotional fortitude to surrender an infant for whom a birth parent realizes he or she is incapable of providing optimum care. It can also be incredibly painful to observe that child interacting with the adoptive family in a way that's not possible with the birth family.

Because of this, some birth parents pull away and cease communicating with the adoptive family. Parents of adopted infants should be sensitive to this possibility and give the biological mom or dad time to adjust to this reality.

What if the biological parents become too demanding?

An open adoption doesn't mean that you have to agree to welcome the biological mom or dad at every holiday, family celebration and birthday. Setting boundaries from the beginning can prevent many of these problems, but some may still crop up.

Keep in mind the best interests of your child should remain primary. If the biological parents become disruptive, you may need to close off some access.

Your Norman family law attorney can help you hash out some of these issues and draw up a binding agreement with the biological parents prior to finalizing the adoption.

Source:, "Adoption: When problems occur with birthparents," accessed Jan. 12, 2018

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