Getting Back in Touch
The intent of a Catholic open adoption is for the birth mother to continue a relationship of some kind with the child. The adoptive family and the biological mom decide during the adoption proceedings exactly what that means. Most open adoptions make room for phone calls, emails, social media exchanges and the occasional meeting. This is meant to continue throughout the child’s life.
There are times when the birth mom loses touch with the adoptive family and the child. This can happen for any number of reasons. She may have decided that the child is better off without her interference. She might have been overwhelmed with pain at the decision to not raise the child herself. In many cases, it is simply a matter of time slipping away.
When the child wants to reclaim the relationship with the birth parent, it is up to the adoptive parents to reach out. They should start by trying to find the location of the birth mom. A phone call or an email is often sufficient. However, if the birth mom has moved or doesn’t respond, the adoptive parents may need to dig deeper. They can start by calling any relatives of the birth mom that they happen to know. If that is unsuccessful, they can look to other social media channels to try to find her. Another option might be contacting the adoption agency. As a last resort, the adoptive family might talk with church members or leaders.
If all of these attempts fail, the adoptive parents must be honest with the child without being hurtful. With a positive tone, the child should be told that the biological mom has not yet been located, but that they will continue trying until they find her. It is imperative that the child knows his or her parents will do whatever it takes to make this wish to speak with the birth mom a reality.
In most cases, the adoptive parents will hear back from the birth mom. She may be defensive about allowing so much time between visits. Making her feel guilty or at fault is not productive. Instead, simply try to restart the relationship. Start through texts and emails, and then eventually a phone call. This can lead to a meeting. Short meetings are best at first. Plan to attend mass together or have a quick brunch. Planning for a short meeting removes pressure from everyone. With luck and prayer, the birth mom will return to the adoptive family’s life, observing the schedule that was originally laid out in the contact agreement.