Q: Whenever we speak on the phone or visit with our 16-month-old son’s birth mother, she points out physical resemblances. (“He has my teeth” or “We have the same big eyes.”) We understand her enthusiasm, but it’s begun to dominate the conversation. We feel that the beauty of our open adoption arrangement is that our son will be able to see the likeness for himself as he grows. Are we off-base with this?
A: Often, at the moment of placement, everyone is too excited to think about what will happen in six months or six years. But now is the ideal time for you to meet with the birth mother, and perhaps with a competent professional, to talk about how the open adoption is going and to set parameters for the future. It may be difficult to speak up, but ultimately, it will make for a smoother relationship that will better serve your child as the years go by.
As your son grows, all the adults involved must set their egos aside in the best interest of this child. And you are right: Because of your open adoption, your son will be able to see that he is related to — and looks like — his birth family. He will also see that, although he may not look like you, he is a part of his adoptive family forever.