Overcoming Difficulties in an Open Adoption Relationship

Open adoptions are becoming more popular with both birth parents and adoptive families. They offer many advantages to everyone involved in the adoption, and in many cases, they result in a strong and positive family bond. However, some open adoption relationships can result in strain and stress. If you have encountered difficulty in your open adoption, you should know how to handle it and overcome it.


Common Problems in Open Adoptions

While open adoptions are usually a positive experience for both the birth and adoptive parents, there can be some difficulties that place strain on the relationship. These difficulties can range from the major to the mundane, but they always need to be handled correctly to avoid making problems worse.

Some of the most common problems in open adoptions are problems of authority. For example, the birth parents might try to assert themselves as parents, which can lead to strain and arguments. They might also take too many privileges with inviting their extended family to events or making posts on social media.

Another common issue is one of trust. Open adoptions require a lot of trust between the birth and adoptive families, and when that trust is abused or broken, it can take a lot of work to repair. This can happen when the birth parents or adoptive parents do something other than what they said, or when they fail to uphold an arrangement or agreement that affects the child.

How to Improve Open Adoption Relationships

Whether you’re just starting on your adoption journey or you’re looking to improve relationships in an existing adoption, you need to know what to do and what to avoid. Here are a few tips for a positive open adoption experience:

Set Boundaries

Every adoption relationship is different, but boundaries and rules can help create structure and encourage helpful behavior. Make sure you sit down and create an agreement for what is and isn’t allowed in your adoption relationship. Even if your adoption is already long completed, an agreement about boundaries can help improve the experience for both sides.


Most problems that arise between birth and adoptive parents are simply a result of communication problems. It’s important to be open and forthcoming about your feelings and expectations so the other party can help you meet them. It can be uncomfortable to open up sometimes, but it’s always better to be available than to keep your feelings to yourself. You also need to learn to listen when the other person comes to you with their feelings or concerns, and not to judge prematurely when you are talking.


When you encounter a problem or you have an issue, it’s important to work together to find a solution that works for everyone involved. This could involve granting some leeway – it’s rare that a compromise is always 100% satisfying for everyone involved. Instead, think of compromises as a small sacrifice in service of keeping a good relationship with other people in your adoptive circle.

See a Counselor

If you’re concerned that your adoptive relationship isn’t working out well, you can always seek professional help and guidance from an adoption counselor. Counseling can help you address and work out issues in your relationship, and it can also help you develop solutions and strategies for any problems you encounter.

Remember What’s Important

Above all else, you should remember that your adoption relationship is designed with the best interests of your child in mind. Both the adoptive family and birth family are only trying to do what they think is best, and you always need to ask yourself if your actions or desires are helping your child. Adoption is all about love, and both the adoptive parents and birth parents need to keep that fact in mind. If you do, you’ll be able to handle any difficulty you encounter.

Adoption Help, Resources and More

If you need help or guidance in your adoption relationship or you’re looking to take the first steps of your adoption journey, we can help. Deaconess Pregnancy & Adoption is Oklahoma’s oldest adoption agency, and we’re ready to help you with your journey. Call 405-949-4200 today to learn more, or visit our Facebook page for helpful advice and more resources.