May 30th, 2007
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The key to succeeding in adoption is to never lose sight that adoption is supposed to serve our children’s interests first. For both sets of parents, to maintain a amicable relationship can be of great benefit for a child. I realize that this is not always possible.

Here are a few reminders to aid you in getting along with your child’s other parents:

1. For birth parents, unless asked, keep mum on any child-raising issues. Only in rare situations will the adoptive parents seek or appreciate your opinions on child-raising. They are entitled to parent however they choose, and will not likely want your opinion on how to handle certain situations or issues. Of course, there will be some exceptions, but do not volunteer advice.


2. For adoptive parents, understand that in many cases a birth mother may not want to share her adoption issues with you. In fact, you might be the last person on earth that she might want to share her feelings about the adoption. Do not take it personally if she wants to keep her feelings to herself. It does not necessarily mean that she does not like you or that she had no deep feelings. She might have many reasons, including not wanting to spoil your happiness with her issues.

3. For birth parents, the adoptive parents deserve your respect and support for any decisions they make with regard to raising your child. If you chose them, you need to trust their decisions and support them.

4. Both sets of parents need to be respectful and sensitive to the other parents. In some situations this can be particularly difficult, and that is when parents are tested the greatest. When birth parents are dysfunctional and have serious problems, it could be very difficult to deal with them. Likewise, when adoptive parents have particular issues, communication can be challenging.

5. For adoptive parents, extend your hearts and friendship to your child’s birth parents as much as possible, no matter what they may be like. It could make a real difference in their lives, your own and that of your child.

All you can do is your very best, no one can ask more from you. Parenting is generally not easy under the best of circumstances. Adding adoption to the mix complicates it further.

Further Reading:

Common Issues Among Adoptive Parents.

Open Adoption Contact – Getting Started

Photo by Jan Baker 2007

7 Responses to “How to Get Along With Each Other”

  1. Or, ya know, treat the other party as you would wish to be treated. ;)

  2. Sunbonnet Sue says:


    Our family adopted a little boy from foster care. Your common sense list is great! It is puzzling that folks would find cause to treat others with disrespect, regardless of circumstances. I have learned a lot from reading your posts, as we have not had much contact with families who have relinquished children for adoption to unknown strangers.

    When our family first began exploring adoption, we had great intentions of holding an open adoption. This did not turn out to be possible, the levels of dysfunction within the placing family, well, we simply had no frame of reference for that. We would have been tickled to be working with a family like yours or Jenna’s.

    Even so, it is not our way to say/do disrespectful things towards that family. The child we adopted has been a tremendous blessing. Even tho we cannot have open contact with his family of origin, we were careful to secure as much information and pictures as we were able. His lifebook is assembled in a way to assist in his development of his individual identify as positively as is humanly possible. After following the posts here for several months, how glad we are to have had access to that much information for him.

    Thank you so much for taking the time to write it all out so carefully, and to labor through explaining it to those of us wanting to know!

  3. Heather says:

    These are excellent. I would add one more: don’t speak for the other party. For example, I–as an adoptive parent–shouldn’t feel that I can answer questions like how my son’s first parents really feel about the adoption, why they placed him, etc.

  4. Jan Baker says:

    Thank you all for your feedback – love to hear it and appreciate it. I like Heather’s suggestion about speaking for the other party.

  5. erin_d_a says:

    Good post. I actually DO want my daughters other mom to give me some advice on parenting her though. I think that first parent insight is very important because personality is largely genetic and I want to hear how the queen would have dealt with similar issues as a parent, and how she DID deal with them as a child. But I guess this may fall more under the benefit of open adoption rather than parenting advice.

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