What is the best way to establish boundaries in an open adoption?

What is the best way to establish boundaries in an open adoption?

Best Answer

  • Answer ✓
         This is a really great question! Boundaries are an essential part of a healthy open adoption, and establishing them early on (before baby is born, if possible) is the best way to do it. 
         First off, decide what boundaries exactly need to be set. For example, how often will you visit/send updates? Is it ok for birth parents to post photos on social media? How much notice to both parties need to give before a visit? What is/isn't ok to say to the child as they grow older? 
        Once both parties have an idea of what their ideal open adoption relationship looks like, it is vital that both birth and adoptive parents have an open, honest conversation. Communicating what the boundaries should be is incredibly awkward, but if it doesn't happen, someone is going to get hurt. Both parties will likely have to compromise.
         As far as compromising goes, the most important thing to remember is that the child is the priority. It's not about the wants and needs of the adults- it's about what is best for the child. If you can look at it as two sets of loving parents coming together to come up with boundaries that are for the benefit of the child, it becomes much more solution focused and will help avoid arguments. 
        Healthy boundaries in my open adoption have made so much difference. I know exactly what is and isn't ok for me to do, so I don't have to worry about upsetting my birth daughter's parents- because I already know what will, since they've communicated that with me. I know that I am welcome to visits as long as I am a good role model for my birth daughter and as long as she wants to have contact with me. I know the frequency I can expect them, and that is comforting to me. Because we were willing to have an awkward conversation, our open adoption relationship is much less awkward now. 
         Here are two really great articles about setting boundaries in open adoptions. Good luck!

    https://adoption.com/need-boundaries-even-healthy-open-adoption
    https://adoption.com/common-problems-in-open-adoption-and-how-to-address-them

Answers

  • That is a great response by Annaleece. Setting boundaries in an open adoption can be sometimes awkward and even scary. However, boundaries are needed by all parties involved. You may even find that boundaries need to be reestablished as years go by and you are all learning new things in your adoption journey. 

    One of the main points to remember is to keep communication open and as friendly as possible. From the beginning, be as honest as possible. Do not make promises or committments that you cannot or do not intend to keep. This is not fair to the child. 

    It may be the birth parent who has to set boundaries with adoptive parents depending on the feelings and desires of each side. This will also depend on the age of the child at adoption. 

    Adoption.org has a great guide on open adoption you can find here. You can read countless articles and stories of open adoption. It will definitely be helpful to hear from others through the adoption.com forums about their experiences with setting boundaries in open adoption. 

    Don't be afraid to express your needs. Do not let a situation go on for too long before you express your feelings or discomfort. Have enough respect for all involved to keep communication open and honest at all times for the sake of your child. 
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