In this life everyone is on his or her own path. Spouses and partners sometimes travel at different speeds and take breaks at different times. In the journey to become a parent through open adoption the path can be long and challenging for some.
It is normal that each person will hit highs and lows on this journey. The key is to stay on the path and help each other along to achieve the goal of becoming parents and opening your heart to a birth family.
We also have extended family that may or may not understand the elements of open adoption or the needs of birth parents and adopted children. It can be frustrating and difficult at times when others are not ready to embrace open adoption or are simply not educated in how adoption works.
Some ways to help your relationship with your partner or family members on this journey are:
- Communication. This is a crucial element in keeping your relationship strong and dealing with the stress of the waiting time and the process of adoption. Communicating your feelings with one another and being honest in this communication will help avoid assumptions that can lead to hurt feelings. Be honest with yourself on how you are feeling, then tell your loved ones.
- Let the little things go. Remember that each of you are in a different place through the process and are dealing with a range of emotions that will come and go. Let go of the things that really don’t matter and be forgiving.
- Education. In the path to open adoption educating yourself and your family can be really helpful to get past old ideas. Find ways to embrace the concept of openness in adoption and the uniqueness of each experience. There are many books to recommend to parents, siblings and partners about open adoption, transracial adoption and adoption in general. Share websites and reach out to your counselor for help finding ways to share information with your extended family.
- Reach out for counseling. If you and your spouse or partner really struggle with this journey, whether it be fatigue of waiting, opposing ideas of openness, financial issues, or other personal struggles, remember the option to seek out counseling. You can speak with your adoption coordinator or get a recommendation of a counselor to help you process this journey.
- Attend support group. Talking to others in the same situation can help you with getting through the hard times. To know you are not alone and that there is success out there can give you the needed boost to help you in your relationships. Others may have ideas of how they have included their parents and siblings in the adoption journey.
This is not a complete list and there are many other ways to help your family relationships during the journey of open adoption. The main thing is to remember that we all feel things differently, and patience and honesty with yourself can go a long way to helping your relationship with others. Give yourself and others the space and time to take each step on the path in their own way. Take care of one another and remember that you are in this journey because you want to share the love you have for one another with a child. Your relationships should grow stronger through the process of open adoption.