Finding Balance in Open Adoption Relationships

When it comes to open adoption relationships, people are curious. Many have asked me, “What do you say to your kids’ birth parents?” Some are completely flabbergasted that I even keep in contact with them at all. They are the ones who normally follow up with, “That is so nice of you. Your kids are so lucky.”

Those who are genuinely interested are typically those hoping to adopt or just want to learn more about adoption. Knowing what to say to your kid’s birth parents can be tricky. You probably had a vision in your head about the type or relationship you would have with them. In truth, it may not work out that way.

For us, I was excited to write letters to my daughter’s birth mom. However, I didn’t know where to start. I didn’t know how to express all of my daughter’s greatness and cuteness in a simple letter. I didn’t know how much she wanted to know. Did she want to know when she got her first tooth, or that she took 2 naps a day? I wanted to share everything, because she is her mother too and is missing out on so many moments. Yet, I didn’t want to bombard her with words that may have been overwhelming to her at that time. At first I just shared a few things we had done since the last time I had written and then I listed our daughter’s milestones, favorite things, and height, weight, etc. We had agreed when our daughter turned one to send letters once a year instead of every 3 months like we had been. By that time, her birth mom had stopped all contact, but we still sent them. We hoped she would read them and respond when she was able. The yearly letters gave a month by month recap of things we and our daughter did that month, as well as her likes, interests, and talents. I was careful about the wording of my letters as not to offend her. I never referred to myself or my husband as “mom and dad”. I didn’t want to make things harder for her. Though when she finally did respond, she called us “mom and dad” over and over in her letter. It made me realize that I didn’t need to be as cautious with my words. Now because of our daughter’s birth mom’s situation, there are certain things I do not share with her. She doesn’t know my daughter is a published author. That kills me. I’d love to share that with her, but if she knew this she’d know our last name and we aren’t comfortable with that. I know that might draw some criticism, but you don’t know all the facts. I kindly ask you to respect our decision.

With my son, our contact and what we share is quite different. I share tons with his birth mom. Just today I wrote to her about the epic tantrums our son has been throwing. That is something I would have never dreamed of telling either of my kids’ birth moms, but we have a level of comfort that makes sharing lots of details okay. It’s like talking to family. I even share behavior issues my oldest is having at school now that her birth mom is in contact more. My son’s birth mom also loves to know about our daughter and asks about her often. There really isn’t much that I don’t tell my son’s birth mom. At first, I was reserved with how much I shared and really watched my words. However, as our relationship grew that all went out the window. She shares details about her job, her son, her church family, her schooling, etc.

My point is there isn’t a book that is going to tell you how much or how little or just what you should write to your child’s birth parents. You will learn what works for you and for them. You will find a balance. Hopefully you will grow to love this sharing between your child’s two families (or maybe you already do).

What are the benefits of adoption?

Written by Jason Granillo

We're here to help.

Get your Free Adoption Packet

Or call us at