Ask AF: Birth Grandparent Contact?

Our expert provides guidance on how to establish contact with your child's birth grandparents.

Q: We don’t have contact with our baby’s birth parents, by mutual consent. When the birth father’s mother learned about the adoption, a few months after the fact, she asked to meet with us for “closure.” However, she is now asking for ongoing contact. Should we say yes? The birth grandmother is clearly sad about the adoption, so I worry about how being exposed to these feelings will affect my daughter as she grows.

A: I understand your concern. Right now the birth grandmother is grieving, but these emotions will subside in time. The birth parents are grieving, too, but you aren’t witnessing their grief because you aren’t in contact. In general, birth families work through the normal grief process much more quickly and easily in open adoption.

Even though you’re not in regular contact with the birth parents, they need to weigh in on birth grandparent contact. If they are comfortable with it, I recommend that you be open to it. Contact with at least some of her birth family will be important to your daughter in the future. That being said, it’s important to have clear expectations. If you decide to have ongoing contact with this birth grandparent, you should set boundaries as to the frequency and type of contact you are comfortable with—such as visits once or twice per year—from the start.