I’m starting off this ongoing series with a list of ideas for those who have visits in their open adoption. First and foremost I must say that all adoptions are different and what works for one might not work for another. This list of 10 ideas will feature ideas for both short visits and long visits. I realize that not all families visit for a week at a time and may just have a day visit. I hope to include ideas for either situation.
Furthermore, these aren’t really in order from least great idea to greatest idea. Though I do like Number One. I couldn’t pick favorites with the rest of them, so they’re just simply numbered for numbers sake. On with the list!
10. Day Trip to the Zoo. Frankly, children love zoos. (And if most adults are honest, they have a soft spot in their heart for some animal at the zoo as well!) The zoo is a neutral place where adults can converse and a child can have a good time. The added bonus to a zoo visit is that, as any parent will tell you, watching a child’s expression as they try to talk to the monkeys is heartwarming. Experiencing that as a birth parent is a unique and memorable moment. Not only will you have time to interact as adults but simply watching your birth child will be something to remember for a lifetime. (The indoor variation of this idea is the aquarium or an aviary.)
9. View Your Hometown Through the Other Party’s Eyes. Your city might not be that exciting to you but to someone who isn’t from your area, it holds a lot of new experiences. (If you don’t live in a big city, perhaps explore the closest one to you. Maybe you’ll learn something new in the process as well!) Take the other party to all of the tourist attractions that you normally avoid. Take goofy pictures. Eat at the hot-spots (that are child appropriate!). Walk around with a map. “Get lost” and enjoy the time spent learning new things together.
8. Plan a Picnic at the Park. Children love going to the park on a nice day. Plan a picnic, complete with a basket, a blanket and good food. (Ants optional.) While the child(ren) play(s), simply sit and watch, talk about life with the other party or join in the play with the kid(dos). Experiencing the playground at the park as an adult is always an invigorating experience. If you live near a state park, eat your picnic and then go on a hike through nature while searching for a list of things. (The party that lives closest to the area should form the list to make sure those things are natural to that area.) Watch out for poison ivy and oak.
7. Your Local Childrens’ Museum! For the colder months, outdoor activities are not as feasible. Use these cold winter days to visit the local childrens’ museum. Again, simply watching your birth child experience the wonder that is to behold in such a place will be a lasting memory. Be sure to hit a photobooth as a group before you leave.
6. Do Something Seasonally Appropriate. If it’s summer, plan a trip to the beach nearest one party. (Remember, lakes count as beaches as well!) Plan an outdoor camping trip, even if it’s just in one of your backyards. As snow isn’t entirely predictable, instead plan to go to an ice skating rink together. In the fall, attend a local pumpkin festival. The point of this group of ideas is to make memories. Be sure to take pictures together. Be sure to actively engage in things with your birth child. Splash in the waves. Teach your birth child to ice skate backwards (or have him teach you!). Bob for apples together.
In the next post, I’ll list five more ideas sure to inspire memories in any open adoption. Stay tuned!