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  #1  
Old 12-06-2012, 05:34 AM
dmariehill dmariehill is offline
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Advice on moving towards more open adoption

Our placement will be final in a couple of weeks. Right now we have a semi-open arrangement meaning that we send pictures and updates on a schedule. We've also provided them with an email address and until 2 days ago had a phone number they could call. All forms of contact protect our identity per my husbands wishes.

Here's the deal for me. They live in another state. They can't afford to travel and show up unannounced. (yes she did that in a previous placement but only because updates had stopped and she waited till the boy was in school. She didn't stop by when he would be home). Right now they don't have phone or email access anymore because they can't afford to pay the bills. I know this because she called from a different phone and asked for a loan, which we had to say no to. So when the prepaid phone ran out of days we didn't renew it.

I don't think she's ready for visits as she didn't tell her kids (4 and 7) that she was pregnant or placed our daughter for adoption. What I'd like to do is start by just giving her my real cell phone number. I honestly don't think she'll abuse it. And I'm concerned that if she tries to call, she'll feel we closed the adoption like her other 2 placements. I don't want that to happen. She doesn't need that grief.

My husband isn't really going to be so open to this. He worries about things.

So 2 questions: What issues am I not considering in making this change to how we potentially interact? And also, any suggestions on how to help my hubby be more comforatable?
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  #2  
Old 12-06-2012, 08:38 AM
tacosalad tacosalad is offline
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I guess I'm not totally sure why you wouldn't give her your actual cell number. I personally think it's pretty hard to have genuine and respectful contact when you don't/won't trust the other party to even have your actual contact information. We gave our son's birth parents our physical address, phone numbers, and email addresses before birth - they are our family now and there aren't any other family members I hide that information from. I guess it's obvious I don't really understand semi-open (semi-closed) adoption arrangements in general unless there are safety issues involved - that doesn't seem to be the case here. She perhaps made one decision that crossed some boundaries, but she also showed good judgment by showing up when her child wouldn't be there. And it's important to realize her reason for showing up unannounced wasn't because of poor boundaries, it was because she had no other options to attempt to maintain a relationship with her child. Asking for a loan wasn't great judgment, but you said no and problem solved. Remember the main reason all of us (adoptive and birth parents) do open adoption is because it is what is best for the child. Do you want your child to see that you were insecure enough about this relationship that you couldn't even give her your real cell phone number? I mean, that's a pretty small thing when you think about it. So, if anything I think you are overthinking this. Tell your husband to get over it, honestly - this is adoption, your child has birth parents and he/she deserves to have a relationship with them (assuming no safety issues). A cell phone number is super low stakes - the very worst that can happen is she calls you more than you want. If that happens, you could set a schedule or something. Absolute worst case scenario you can change your number (I would never recommend this, but it shows how low stakes this really is).

Reading this again, it sounds like she doesn't know you didn't renew the prepaid phone? So, her only way of contacting you is an email address and she doesn't have internet access? And if she calls the number she has for you, it'll just be disconnected? If I'm understanding this correctly, please put $5 on the pre-paid phone so she can at least call and not get a disconnected number - I can't imagine the grief that would cause especially considering her previous experiences.

Good luck. These relationships can be hard to navigate, but also easy - just treat the relationship in a way you will feel proud of when your child is grown and won't instill in your child that they have to choose between their families.

Last edited by tacosalad : 12-06-2012 at 08:40 AM.
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  #3  
Old 12-06-2012, 09:52 AM
dmariehill dmariehill is offline
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The reason for the prepaid phone in the beginning was more not knowing them yet really and my husbands issues. I'm with you. I don't see any reason she shouldn't just have my regular number.

I'm trying to get him to be more open. He tends to be very private - too private in my opinion. It's just a comfort level for him. Right now he doesn't want to move towards more openness, I do. I'm looking for assistance helping him move that way.
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  #4  
Old 12-06-2012, 09:58 AM
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ladyinred3333 ladyinred3333 is offline
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I did not give our kids mom my cell number until this summer. Three years after our daughter was born. All contact was made through the agency and I also provided an email address for her to contact us at but she chose not to use it. Because DCFS was involved in her sons case we were advised not to give identifying info until everything was worked out with that and we were ready. My husband feels the same way yours does but we do visits every three months and we just started going to their house. It was scary at first but so much quieter than going to chuck e cheese or a McDonalds playland.

I don't feel you need to keep paying for the phone but I do think that you need to let her know that you are turning it off. Do not let it be a suprise. She can go to the library and use the internet for now. Let the relationship build and your husband will see that it can be a wonderful thing. I just texted my daughters first mom two days ago to find out family medical history for the doctor. And remind him that if she didn't misuse the phone number for the prepaid phone she problably won't misuse your cell number.
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Baby Born "B"
At hospital found out "B"'s brother is in foster care.
Contacted a different agency to ask about brother.
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Moved in June 5th
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Last edited by ladyinred3333 : 12-06-2012 at 10:18 AM.
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Old 12-06-2012, 09:52 PM
Beachy Beachy is offline
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I think if you agreed to provide a phone number you should have one that actually works when she calls it. Whether its your cell or your pre-paid phone. How would she get in touch to tell you where to send updates if they have to move? With regard to the privacy thing perhaps your husband might benefit from some books on adoption and relationships with birth families (I don't mean that in flip way). I got my in laws, "What Adoptee Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew," and it was very enlightening for them about trying to forge a relationship with birth parents. I think for them wanting to limit that birth family relationship was about claiming DD and being afraid of losing her.
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Old 12-10-2012, 08:41 PM
KPBH KPBH is offline
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We have a very open relationship with our son's birth family so I have experienced the stress and also the great blessings from that. I can relate to your desire to move towards a more open relationship. That being said, I also believe that it's important to be on the same page as your spouse. I know that starting an open relationship was easier for me than my husband. He has since realized the great benefits, although it is still more of a struggle for him. What helped him the most was reading books about adoption. He especially liked "The Open Adoption Experience" It gave him a better understanding of everything. If I were you I would talk to your husband about maybe setting up a free internet number until he is more comfortable with disclosing more information. It is free. When you call the number it transfers the call to whatever phone you want. I hope this helps.

Last edited by KPBH : 12-10-2012 at 08:43 PM.
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Old 12-11-2012, 06:22 AM
dmariehill dmariehill is offline
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KPBH thank you for the suggestion. My hesitation has completely been because he's not there yet. The internet number is a great idea.

Beachy - we never actually agreed to continual phone contact, we agreed to talk prior to the birth. However, things were going well, so we kept the number for while. Thanks for the book title as well - I'll be looking into that.

I talked with the agency and our daughter's bfamily is awol again. They don't have phone and the agency hasn't heard from them asking about the update so they're going to hold it until they hear from them in case they are in transition. The agency knows that we have let the phone expire and that we aren't wanting to close contact. They will let us know if they hear from her. It's a small agency and they've worked with this family in the past.

We can definitely get the internet number set up and I'll make sure the agency has it for them and I'll send it to their email as well in case they get to check that at the library or something.

For now, it looks like we'll just need to wait until they are ready for contact again. Thank you for all the suggestions - I can start working on hubby with those so that hopefully when they are ready, he will feel more comfortable.
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Old 12-11-2012, 09:12 AM
loveajax loveajax is offline
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KPBH beat me to the punch. Very good advice, imo!

Have you ever talked to your DC's also adopted sibs' families? I just ask this because I had a dear friend who adopted a baby recently and was upset that the two prior families (who adopted two older kids) did not keep in touch with bmom. well, it became apparent very quickly why that was the case. I am not saying that is the case here, but maybe something to explore/think about.

I hope you are able to work out an arrangement that works out best for everyone! Good luck!
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Old 12-28-2012, 07:36 AM
dmariehill dmariehill is offline
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Just a quick update.

I had set up a FB page and sent them a request but hadn't heard back. Just before Christmas they accepted the friend request, but no other contact.

I set up the internet phone number and forwarded it to my cell so it doesn't cost anything but they can call if they want. And I sent it to them via fb message when they accepted the friend request.

I'm hoping that this means they have a phone again, but I'm not sure. So, in the meantime, I'm just going to keep updating FB and sending the agreed upon updates and wait to see if they initiate contact again.
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