Monday, September 18, 2006

Question for Professionals: Birth Parent Contact

We will most likely be able to adopt our foster children before the year is out. They are two and half and 7mos and have been with us for 7months. We have established a good relationship with the paternal grandparents and plan to keep them in our lives as grandparents. How much, if any, contact and / or sharing of information should we allow with the birth parents post adoption? Actually, we won’t allow any contact at all until or unless the birth parents are making better decisions, but what about sharing photos with them via the grandparents? Since it will not be set up by the court, we’re wondering what the pros and cons are of sharing this type of information. Obviously, we wouldn’t share photos that could help locate the children but what about just in general? We’ll need to set some “ground rules” with the paternal grandparents and we’re looking for help with that – any ideas? If it helps, the grandparents are very supportive of adoption for the kids and want what is best for them – they appear to be “normal”, healthy people.


Blogger Think Tank Moderator said...

Michelle, adoption worker in TX, states:

You can have as much contact with the birth parents as you feel is good for the kids. Having some contact with them might be nice, especially if later in life you need medical history or anything.

6:35 AM  
Blogger Think Tank Moderator said...

Sounds to me like you are setting good boundaries. If you have contact with the birth grandparents, they can do what they want with the birth parents, and it won't affect you or your children. It is a good idea to keep the birth parents in the loop through the grandparents, and appear open to the birth parents by being willing to share photos and information and good wishes, through them.

That way, when they have more children, you will find out about it, and be able to help protective services ensure those children are safe, and potentially extablish helpful connections for them and your children. I have recently re-established connections for some boys on my caseload and discovered, through contact one adoptive parent has, by letter and photos, that one of the boys is at risk for epilepsy.

In general, it is a good idea to at least appear open to contact, and not FORBID anything. What is forbidden, can become a big temptation and worry for the birth parents and for your kids. Sounds like you are doing a good job

7:47 AM  
Blogger QueenBee said...

Thanks for your feedback. We feel incredibly blessed to have the birth grandparents in our lives and in the kids' lives. Thanks again!

7:04 PM  
Blogger michelle said...

We adopted from foster care and started sharing letters and photos through DSS two years ago. We've progressed to phone calls, emails and removing DSS from the equation.

The best asset in all of this for us has been the maternal grandmother who I have actually developed a nice friendship with. What made it easy is she was more than willing to accept the boundaries we needed to set. She never crossed the line and did everything she said she would. Based on her willingness to respect those boundaries, we'd open up a bit more and more with the therapist's help.

Eventually the therapist even said that she felt the grandmother was very positive and no longer needed the therapist as our go between. Now the grandmother even has our home phone number, address, etc - and she has been wonderful to continue to respect the boundaries. She even backs my husband and I up as parents of this child - she's told our daughter flat out that she likes us and is happy she is safe and doing well with us, and that we are her parents now. Just really helps to have the positive reinforcement from her.

She has also opened the door to increasing contact with my daughter's other adopted sibling - which has let to my daughter talking and visiting(!!!) her sister. AND the grandmother tracked down the birthfather's family and made the call to get them to email with me.

We haven't progressed to visiting in person yet with the grandmother but she is about 10 hours away from us.

So for us, allowing that contact has made a WORLD of difference. I'm all for including healthy people from your children's past in any way you can. Just take your time and trust your instincts!

FWIW: I do a newsletter every so often for all the family and post it on my website. If you follow my link on my username, my latest one is linked from my blog.

Good luck!

8:59 AM  

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