Adoptive parents can never include too many photos or too much information about the child in their adoption updates.
Birth parents enjoy seeing the child doing different activities, spending time with family members, and the child’s reactions to different things, even including photos of the child crying or having a temper tantrum, all of which are part of the child’s life.
A common concern of adoptive parents is that if the birth mother sees an adorable and happy child, she will believe that she has made a mistake and want the child back. Firstly, birth mothers don’t make adoption plans because they “want the child back”. They make adoption plans because they love their children and want more for them than they can provide themselves. Seeing a happy child, in nice surroundings only reaffirms that they made the right decision. Secondly, NOT providing the updates creates fear and concern that the child is not okay. If a mother’s plan was to see that her child is loved, happy, and safe and secure, and she sees pictures confirming that, doesn’t it make sense that she would be more at peace with her decision than if she did not receive the reaffirmation?
I have spoken with many birth parents about the updates they receive. I cannot put into words what these updates mean to them, especially in the first few months after birth. Many birth parents call us to let us know what the updates mean to them. Check out this post on our Google+ page relating to one birth parent’s sentiment regarding updates. During this time, birth parents go through a grieving process, and they work to try to sort out their emotions. These updates can help them in the healing process and work on moving forward. The birth parents hope and pray that they have entrusted their child in a home where they will be loved and provided for, and that the adoptive parents will honor the agreement made in their adoption plan. Adoptive parents and birth parents will talk about post adoption updates and come to an agreement of what their plan will be. It is very important that adoptive parents talk openly with the birth parents and that they only agree to what they are comfortable with. UnderIndiana Code 31-19-16, post adoption agreements are only enforceable for older (2+ years) children which are adopted; therefore, birth parents take the adoptive parent’s agreement for updates as a promise. It is critical that the adoptive parents then live up to the agreement they made.
Some update agreements are different depending on what the birth parents and adoptive parents agree to and what they are comfortable with. At Kirsh & Kirshwe have a standard post adoption update schedule. That schedule is to send an update as soon as the child is home from the hospital, then at 1, 2, 3, 6, 9, 12, 18, and 24 months, and then yearly until the child is 18 years-old. I cannot stress enough how critical it is that adoptive parents provide these updates on time, as birth parents anxiously await them. If birth parents do not receive them on time, they immediately worry that something is wrong, or that they, the birth parents, have been forgotten.
Again, adoptive parents need to remember how vital these updates are for birth parents to heal and move forward. Birth parents deserve to know how the child is doing and that they made the right choice in their adoption plan. Steve always points out that if adoptive parents make a promise to their birth parents and then do not follow through with those promises, and then one day the child happens to meet their birth parents, you do not want the birth parents to say “you know, the only thing we wanted from your parents was a letter and pictures to assure us you were doing well, and they would not provide those to us.” The child may be very hurt, and possibly angry with the adoptive parents for this.
I will say most of our adoptive parents truly enjoy sending these updates. They are excited and proud to show the birth parents how the child is doing and growing. One adoptive parent said to me that “they have such gratitude, respect, honor, and love for what the birth parents did for their family by placing their child for adoption, that the least they could do was send letters and photos to show them they made the right choice.”
If anyone has any questions about updates, or would just like to talk about post adoption updates in general, I would love to talk with you. My email address firstname.lastname@example.org and you are always welcome to call our office at 317-575-5555.
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