Teens and Open Adoption
Your growing child will have many questions about adoption over the course of his or her young life. Your child might wonder why the birth mother chose adoption. He or she may wonder about other biological relatives, especially the birth father or grandparents. As your child grows, he or she may desire an even deeper relationship with birth parents.
A Catholic open adoption allows you to communicate with the biological parent from even before the completion of the adoption. In an ideal adoption, your child already has formed a strong bond with the birth mom. Through phone calls, social media communication or visits, your child should have been able to ask and answer questions of the birth mom from an early age. By the time the child is a teen, many of the questions he or she has will have already been answered.
The changes during teenage years may cause your child to re-question all of those things that have been readily available for years. A teenager might protest against the “easy answers” that have been offered. He or she may believe there are factors that have been hidden or details left out. If your teenager begins to question these things, offer to go through the adoption paperwork. Let your teen see how much work, effort, love and prayer went into the adoption. Allow him or her to read through all of the files. Sharing this will help your teen to understand exactly how honest you have been.
Your teen may also want to spend more time with the birth mom. There may come a point when the birth mom feels comfortable enough to ask your child to spend the night, a weekend or even have an extended stay. Some parents allow their teens to spend vacations with a biological mom. This can be a particularly special time if the teen has half siblings who live with the birth mom. However, you may not have the same kind or relationship with your teen’s biological mom. You may not feel that the birth mom is equipped to manage the needs of a teenager. You may question if the environment is an appropriate one for your child. If this is the case, don’t keep your concerns to yourself. Talk them over with your teen. Try to find a compromise. Perhaps you could ask the biological mom to spend a weekend at your home. You could even invite the birth mom to go on a short vacation with you if your funds allow. If this doesn’t work, invite the biological mom to begin attending mass with your family.
Let your teen be instrumental in the decision making process. While you are still the parent, your teenager also wants, needs and deserves to have some power and freedom. Work with your teen, letting him or her always know that you are glad to have been chosen to be a forever mom.