Maintaining Birth Family Connections
Research is clear that maintaining a connection between a child who was adopted and their birth family can benefit that child in profound ways - and it is also clear that having some degree of openness in adoption has been beneficial not just for the child but also for the birth and adoptive parents.
The September 2019 Bulletin for Professionals from the Child Welfare Information Gateway and the Children's Bureau lists many of the ways that maintaining these connections helps children:
- Understand the reason for the adoption as well as its implications
- Improve their identity formation
- Understand the origins of their physical and personality traits
- Find other supportive adult relationships
- Increase their desire to meet siblings and other family members
- Increase communication about their adoption with their families
- Feel positive about their birth mothers and others
As a parent you may appreciate that children with long-term contact with their birth family:
- have significantly fewer externalizing behaviors than adolescents with no birth family contact (this study was of children who were relinquished by their birth parents as infants)
- face to face contact between birth and adoptive parents strengthens the relationship between the adoptive parents and their child and tends to increase the adoptive parents confidence and security in their parental role
- it increases adoptive parents empathy for their children and their children's birth family
- and there is one study that indicates that when adolescents feel unhappy about the amount of contact they have with their birth family they may feel negative about adoption.
To read more take a look at the September 2019 Fact Sheet for Families