If you've decided to adopt a child, and you plan on an open adoption, now's the time to prepare for the adventure that lies ahead. Open adoption is a meaningful way to include the birth parents in the life of the child. However, open adoptions do require careful planning. Here are four tips that will help you avoid complications during - and after - the adoption.
1. Hire an Adoption Attorney
Now that you're ready to adopt, you might have heard stories of people who went through the entire process on their own without any complications. While those situations do exist, they're usually the exception to the rule. If you've decided to adopt, you need to hire an adoption attorney. Your attorney will walk you through the process and help you avoid problems that could prevent a successful adoption.
2. Create an Online Presence
As soon as you begin the adoption process, create an online presence for yourself. When birth mothers look for adoptive parents for their baby's, they want to learn as much as they can about their possible choices. Blogs, vlogs and other social media avenues allow birth mothers the opportunity to learn about you and get a feel for how their baby will fit into your family.
Remember that birth mothers want to know about you as potential parents. Share information that will help them choose you over other prospective parents, such as family goals, educational opportunities you want for your child, etc.
3. Define Your Roles
As soon as you're matched with a birth mother, you need to define your roles, especially if you have plans for an open adoption. If you wait until after the birth to define specific roles, you'll have a harder time with the task.
If you plan on continued contact with the birth parents, you need to attach names for each person. Early agreement on monikers for the birth parents prevents hard feelings and confusion once the baby is born. If the birth parents choose to name the baby in advance, discuss your desire to have them use your chosen name during social interaction.
If you will provide updates regarding the baby after the delivery and throughout your adopted child's life, have a plan for those updates prior to the birth. Your plan should include specific intervals when the birth parents can expect updates, such as once a month, twice a year, or even once a year.
Extended Family Contact
Most open adoptions allow for some type of extended family contact - including birth grandparents. If you're open to extended family contact, determine the extent of contact you're comfortable with, as well as when that contact will occur. If you plan on scheduled contact, provide a detailed calendar so that the birth family knows when they can spend time with the baby.
Social Media Sharing
Social media is a way for you to share information with the birth parents. However, this is also an avenue that the birth parents can utilize for their own sharing. Before the baby is born, set guidelines for the type of sharing you'll allow on social media pages - including the number of pictures you'll permit on the birth parents pages and the type of personal information you'll allow to be shared.
4. Know What to Expect After Delivery
After the delivery, you and the birth parents will need time to adjust to the changes. During this time, don't be afraid to reach out to your attorney for guidance. This is particularly important if the birth parents want to make changes, or refuse to abide by the terms of the adoption. Your attorney will work with both sets of parents to reach an agreement that you can all agree with.
If you're planning on an open adoption, contact us at Paul A. Meding, P.A., Attorney at Law. We'll walk you through the process.