After a divorce, the possibility for remarriage exists. Adoptive parents who divorce are most definitely allowed to fall in love and get remarried. Birth parents are allowed the same chance and choice whether they divorced their birth child’s other biological parent or someone else that their child has gotten to know via an open adoption relationship. While the adults are the ones responsible for making the decisions, those decisions can affect others, even those involved in adoption. So, how do you handle all of this?
If one or both of your child’s adoptive parents will be remarrying, you may have some fears. Will the new (step)parent like you? Will they respect your place in your child’s life? And, most importantly, will they like your child? Will they treat your child properly? This is actually one scenario in which a properly working open adoption can be of benefit to all parties. Why?
You can get answers to these questions. I encourage you to spend some time with your child’s new (step)parent to be. Ask questions. Tell your story. Be prepared to answer questions as well. It will also benefit the lot of you if you can talk with your child’s (adoptive) parent who is remarrying to figure out where the new (step)parent stands on issues like openness, visits and the like.
It’s also important for you to realize or remember that planning any wedding, big or small, takes a lot of time, energy and money. If your child’s (adoptive) parent and new (step)parent seem too busy right now, it’s because they are. Don’t worry. The honeymoon period will end, I promise, and they will remember that you are an important part of their child’s life and, as such, their lives.
In this case, how your relinquished child is dealing with the changes in his/her life might worry you. However, this is not a case in which you can step in and ask questions that cross boundaries. The adoptive parent(s) and the new stepparent(s) are in charge of handling the emotional well-being of this issue. You can be supportive if questions are answered of you but, in the end, this is not your issue.
What might be your issue, however, is if you, as a birth parent, experience a divorce and remarriage. While some might think that it would only negatively affect your placed child if you divorced from his/her other biological parent, this is one issue that gets complicated with open adoptions. What do I mean? Say you marry someone who does not share DNA with your child but over the years your child has grown to know and love that person through open adoption visits. Then suddenly, that person is gone. This is, perhaps, more complicated than if you had been married their biological parent. Why? That person is now completely gone from their life, most likely forever. That can be a pretty hard pill to swallow especially if they shared a positive, loving relationship. So it figures that they might be somewhat nervous about a new person in their life! Someone they loved is gone and now they have to learn to love and trust someone new. As a birth parent, you don’t see each other everyday like they see their everyday mom and potential stepparents. You can see how that would be nerve-wracking.
So, what should you do? Just simply be the loving birth mother you have always been. Let your child’s adoptive parents that your phone, inbox and mailbox are open for any and every question that your child may come up with over the next few months. No question is off limits and you will answer each of them to the best of your ability. Depending on your child’s age, I’d be prepared for some anger but definitely for some harder questions.
In the end, these changes that your child is enduring can be difficult for all involved. A positive attitude and the support of those who surround your child can make all the difference.
Plus? Weddings are a cause for celebration! Don’t forget to celebrate!