The question people ask us mostly frequently since we adopted Teddy is, “What’s your biggest challenge?” While we anticipate encountering many adoption and race-related challenges, our biggest challenges now are those any new parents deal with: deciphering cries and figuring out how to get Teddy to sleep through the night.
The second most common question we get is, “Do you have contact with Teddy’s birth parents?” The short answer is “no.” But the longer answer is a bit more complicated. When we signed up with our agency, our social worker informed us that no matter what birth mother chose us and what she gave as her preferences for contact, we should expect to send regular updates about our child to the agency. The trend in adoption is toward “open” adoption, which means that there is contact between the birth mother and the adoptive family post-placement, either directly or through the agency. How this contact plays out is up to the birth mother and the adoptive family, and the agency facilitates as necessary. But the minimum the agency expects is yearly reports. Then it’s up to the birth mother to access that information if she wants to.
When we signed the paperwork to take Teddy home, we agreed to send a letter detailing Teddy’s progress and a few pictures to the agency in January 2012 and then every November.
That first update is due this month. In fact, we have two weeks to put this together. I have to admit I have not given this much thought yet. I sort of feel like I’m doing a birth parent letter and photo album all over again. It’s not nearly as nerve-wracking–I know it won’t be the basis by which a birth mother judges us worthy to parent her child–but I again am faced with the question, what on Earth do we include? What will the birth mother want to know? Will she want a detailed report of the milestones Teddy has hit? Will she want to know that he rolled over for the first time this month or that his chuckle is the most precious sound in the world to us? Or should we keep it bare bones? Will too much information be painful for her?
And then there are the pictures. Do we send pictures just of Teddy, Teddy and us? Teddy and his extended family?
Fortunately, we are not the first adoptive family in the world. Many people have experienced this and written about it, so I will be perusing adoption forums to see how other adoptive parents have dealt with this. And undoubtedly our social worker will be able to provide some tips as well.
I pray that Teddy’s birth mother takes comfort from whatever we send and that our gratitude comes through.