“…whoever welcomes a child like this…. welcomes Me.”
Teens and Open Adoption
Every teen desires acceptance. They want acceptance from their peers, their teachers, their church and their families. This is especially true of those teens whose families were built through Christian open adoptions. Those teens want more than anything to feel accepted by their adopted family as well as their birth parents
A teenager may wish to spend more time with his or her birth parents than they have in the past. Adoptive parents should not look at this as an insult or rejection. Instead, they must strive to realize that the teenage years are a time when all children desire to spread their wings. They want to know more about themselves and their place in the world. It makes perfect sense that their dig for meaning starts at the beginning. They want to understand their biological family.
A Christian adoption should have given the the family close contact with the birth mom. In the best scenario, the teen should feel comfortable enough with his or her biological mother to ask even the most probing questions. They may even decide to spend more time together than was originally planned. Many teens who have open relationships with their biological families spend days or even weeks with this second family. If the adoptive parents are secure in the knowledge that this is a safe choice, it can be a psychologically positive experience.
There are times when open adoption relationships fade over the years. Most birth moms want to have regular, steady contact in the first year of the baby’s life. Over time, that birth mom may visit with the child on a less frequent basis. She may even halt contact altogether. A teen may wish to rekindle that kinship. This can be tricky.
The adoptive parents must be vigilant when rebuilding an open adoption relationship. The adoptive parents should reach out to the birth mom first, ensuring that she is receptive to a visit. The meetings should then start slowly. Begin with social media, texts and eventually phone calls before inviting the birth mom to visit. The first few visits should take place with the family together to ensure a safe space. Once trust has been rebuilt, the teen may want to have short, one-on-one visits with the biological mom.
There are also times when teens do not want relationships with their biological parents. Though rare, there are teens who are happy without knowing their birth mom. Adoptive parents may feel their teens should try to be closer with biological family members, but may not know exactly how to encourage this. Adoptive parents must allow their teens to take the lead on some of these choices. The parents always have the right to step in, but teens crave responsibility. Letting them decide how and when to pursue these relationships might be the best thing an adoptive parent can do for a child.