Ask the Expert: Kathleen Silber on Open Adoption
In each issue of Adoptive Families magazine, Kathleen Silber offers smart advice to parents on navigating open adoption. Silber, associate executive director of the Independent Adoption Center, the nation's largest fully-open adoption agency, is one of the pioneers of open adoption and a nationally recognized expert in the field.
In addition, Silber has more than 30 years of experience in child welfare services. She is the author of two nationally recognized books on open adoption, Dear Birthmother and Children of Open Adoption.
Do you have a question about open adoption? Submit your question to Kathleen!
Expert Answers from AF's Open Adoption Expert
The Birthparent Relationship in the Teenage Years
"We have a semi-open relationship with our 14-year-old son's birthmother. Recently he asked if we could invite her for a weekend. Is this normal? What should we do?"
Dealing with Birthmother Grief
"It's been difficult to watch our daughter's birthmother grieve. We're thrilled to be parents, so why do we feel so guilty?"
Waiting for Calls from Potential Birthmothers
"Our agency told us to start expecting calls from potential birthmothers. How do we handle those first conversations?"
Helping Extended Family Understand
"Our parents don't understand why we want the birth family to remain in our lives. How can we help them get on board?"
The First Months: Starting the Relationship
"We just brought our newborn home and are wondering how to communicate with his birthmother. How do we start?"
Talking About Birth Siblings
"Our eight-year-old wants to be a big sister. She does not know that she has a biological brother. How should we tell her?"
Sharing Information About the Birthfather
"We’re close with our four-year-old’s birthmother, Lisa, but we’ve never met the birthdad and Lisa doesn’t like to talk about him. What can we say to our daughter?"
“We lost touch with our son’s birthmother two years after his adoption. He’s seven, and asking lots of questions about her—should we try to contact her?”
Contact During the Holidays
“We always think about our eight-year-old son’s birth family at this time of the year. What should we share in a holiday letter?”
Sharing Difficult News with the Birth Family
“My husband and I are getting divorced. How do we break the news to our daughter’s birthmother?”
How to Help Kids Talk About Adoption
“How can we help our eight-year-old daughter explain her open adoption to her friends?”
Tackle Tricky Assignments
“Our eight-year-old daughter was assigned the family tree at school. How do we handle this?”
Explaining Levels of Contact to Kids
“We know very little about our nine-year-old’s birthmom, but her younger brother talks to his. How can we help her?”
More From AF's Open Adoption Expert
Making Room in Our Hearts: Keeping Family Ties Through Open Adoption, book review by Kathleen Silber
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