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How to Maintain Contact With Your Child's Birth Family

How to Maintain Contact With Your Child's Birth Family

Discover how open adoption and continued contact with birth parents and kin can greatly benefit adopted children.


"Open Adoption", where some form of contact with the birth family is maintained after adoption, has become the standard practice is Massachusetts.

Research consistently shows that maintaining contact with your child's family of origin is crucial. Not only does knowing where they come from benefit your child, adoptive parents can also find that there are many practical benefits to maintaining contact with your child's birth family.

Let's look at some of the ways your family might benefit from an open adoption.

How Your Child Benefits from ongoing contact

Some of the ways your child might benefit from continued contact with their birth family include:

Reduced Ambiguity
Without direct knowledge of their birth parents, adopted children can spend a great deal of time wondering what they are like, if they care for them, and what knowing them might be like. Having direct contact with their birth parents helps them process the loss of their previous family and can reduce feelings of anxiety about their past.

Connection to Cultural Heritage
The birth family is part of a child’s history and cultural story. Knowing where you came from is important for developing a sense of who you are. Staying connected to where they came from helps them maintain a sense of belonging and identity with their culture of origin. 

Family Networks
They will have a chance to know extended family members, such as grandparents, aunts, and uncles. These relationships can provide emotional support, love, and guidance throughout the child's life. Additionally, open adoption can help children maintain important connections to their siblings, ensuring they grow up with a sense of family and shared experiences.

Higher Self-esteem
If birth families remain a mystery, it's can be easy for a child to wonder what is wrong with their family - and if something might be wrong with them too. Maintaining contact can prevent these difficulties and help children build greater self-esteem.

How You Benefit from ongoing contact

There are distinct benefits to you as an adoptive family when you maintain contact with your child's birth family:

  • Insights into your child's background
  • Access to medical history
  • Opportunities to build sibling or family network connections for your child

Perhaps most importantly, you get to be a part of your child's connection to their wider family. Most adopted children will seek out their family of origin as they get older. By maintaining contact from the beginning, you get to be a part of your child's connection to their past.


So, what does contact look like?

If your adoption has an official open adoption agreement, there will be some minimum standard of visitation contact established as part of that agreement. Often those visits are arranged at visitation centers and have social worker support.

The bigger picture, however, is just making an effort to have some kind of positive connection. There are lots of creative ways to nurture this kind of connection:

  • Planning in-person visits around birthdays or holidays
  • Sharing pictures of videos on social media, email, or through media sharing tools
  • Video chats
  • Creating a picture book of your child's birth family that they can access

Many adoptive families bring fears and insecurities to relationships with birth families. These relationships can take intentionality to navigate, but the positives far outweigh the risks. Most families find their fears to be unfounded and that your family, your child, and the birth family all benefit from maintaining contact after adoption.