How important is ongoing communication with birth parents?

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 8,598
    Sarah Mejac from the Barker Foundation discusses how communication with birth parents benefits a child.

    Host: How important is ongoing communication with birthparents?

    Sarah Mejac: In addition to the importance of good support and counseling at the time of the adoption during the adoption process, it's really, really important for ongoing support to be available throughout the lifetime of a birthparent as well. It helps move you forward in terms of, you are thinking about the child that gives you a greater strength in your own heart and it sort of validates the decision that you make to be able to go back and say for some birthparents who have a closed adoption, that means there is no information exchanged. I think over the life of the child there is not a lot shared between the -- directly between a birth family and an adoptive family. It can be important to allow a birthparent to contact your adoption agency and say I am wondering my child is ten and I am wondering how they are doing.

    To be on the receiving end of that call might be really alarming if you had never thought of having future contact with the birth family, but that could also be just a call that a birth family is looking for reassurance that everything is fine with their child. They are wondering what's going on in the next stage of their life and it doesn t mean that they are looking for that child particularly. It means they are just, maybe they are raising their own children; they have been reconnected to those developmental milestones that children progress through and you re really looking to see is everything going the way we hoped, is how s my child doing? What are they up to? The information if they can be provided even through the adoption agencies so that it's still very private, they call it sort of non identifying information. You are not telling them your name and address, you are just simply saying, I am the birthmother; I am now married and have two other children. I have gone on to finish my degree and I am working as whatever it is and I am wondering about the child I placed. If you get that call back it can be a little scary, but you can also know that it's also a part of a process that a birthparent goes through to wonder throughout their lives about, gosh, it's the tenth birthday; that child is not a young child anymore. What are they doing? They are moving into a new phase; I wonder what they like to do.

    So, to be able to provide that reassurance that, yes, this child is happy and flourishing and loves baseball and has this crazy laugh that we don t know what the deal is with that; there can be things like that. That can be just the next step in sort of validating the decision the birthmother made to keep her feeling connected in her heart to that child because all birthparents are going to be connected in their heart to that child forever. I think that s just the way it is, you wonder and you love. You can love a person without having them near you and you re looking maybe a little reassurance that everything is going great and that your life is also taking on new aspects and you are sort of checking in on that that place for that child.