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Although your relationship with the birth parents may start out great, sometimes problems develop later on. Relationships with family members are sometimes strained, so it shouldn’t be surprising if problems occasionally surface with an open adoption. So what do you do when your open adoption starts off strong and then after time the birth parents seem less interested?

“Open adoption is difficult, emotional and amazing.”

When adoptive parents and birth parents agree to an open adoption, they are often very enthusiastic about it. Which is why it’s hard for new parents to understand why birth parents sometimes pull away or even drop out of communication for an extended period of weeks or months. Was it something that you said? Probably not.

One of the most difficult adjustment periods appears to be the first year after the adoption. The birth mother might want to step back for a while and not see the child or the adoptive parents. She might find contact painful, and yet she doesn’t want the adoptive family, whom she likes, or the child to feel responsible for her pain, so she doesn’t explain her actions.

Even if the birth mother remains in close contact for the first year or two, it’s not unusual for her to start calling and writing less (or even drop out of sight altogether) after that time. This is normal. Birth parents pull away because they are “getting on with their lives.” They can see that you are doing a good job as parents and the child is safe and happy. Although they still care about the child, they are moving into other areas of their own lives.

Even very strong proponents of open adoption emphasize that relationships between adoptive parents and birth parents can change, sometimes quite a bit, after the adoption. Being aware of the emotional and psychological experiences of others can help prepare adoptive parents for the situations that come up in their relationship with their child’s birth mother. It’s also important to realize that neither party can fix the problems of the other. If there is serious conflict, it is critical that you seek a third party, like your adoption agency or adoption specialists to help everyone address the issues.

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