Host: What are some concerns about birthparent?
Eliza Niemann: Well, adoptive parents definitely have questions that they need to ask themselves and information that they need to obtain to figure out what situations fill right for them. They need to think about, do I feel comfortable being considered by a birthparent who has any medical concerns of their own, or a birthmother who might have used drugs or alcohol during pregnancy, whether it's a little bit or whether it's a lot and it is that make a difference to them. What if conception was due to rape; how do they feel about that? What if the family of the birthmother or birthfather has an extensive history of mental illness? This is not to say that all these issues crop up in every adoption situation, but like any family history, there are always going to be different medical issues, some very minor, like near sightedness and others much more significant like stroke, cancer, that type of things. So, it's important that families read up on things like that and talk to their social worker and figure out what feels right for them. Another area they need to talk, consider are the legal issues relating to the birthfather. If there are problems with that, how do they feel about that? What if the birthfather is missing? There are very specific steps that are taken to terminate the rights of a birthfather when he is missing and each state has a different process. So that s something that a family, adoptive family would want to talk to their agency about and learn more about and then lastly another big topic area regarding birthparents is how much openness does the adoptive family feel comfortable with. Some parents feel comfortable with just doing pictures and letters once a year through the agency; the agency plays mailman and no identifying information is exchanged, which means no last names, no telephone numbers, no addresses, things like that.
That happens each year or it can be an incredibly open relationship between the adoptive family and the birth family and that it can include not only pictures and letters each year, but it could include visits, phone calls emails. Sometimes it can include more than just the birthparent, it can also include the birthmother or birthfather s immediate family. Then there are different plans in between. The most important aspect here is that both the adoptive family and the birthparents work with the agency, social worker to figure out, what's going to be the best plan for both parties as well as ultimately for the child, because of course that s who they are planning for in the long-term.