by Janet Forde
When my nephew was five or six years old, he asked what his birth father’s name was. He was told that his name was Steve, but was not really given any other information, such as what his birth father looked like or what his personality was like. Somehow in his mind he then became convinced that his birth father was Steve from Blues Clues. One day he shared this information with his sisters who needless to say were a little surprised to find this out! It’s amazing what children can imagine, especially when given little information or guidance.
As a birth mother caseworker who occasionally does adoptive family home studies, I always encourage birth parents to meet the adoptive parents and to pass on pictures of themselves for the adoptive parents to keep and share with their child as appropriate. I also encourage adoptive parents to communicate openly and regularly with their child about their adoption story and their biological parents. Children may not always talk to their parents about what they are thinking and maintaining an open line of communication can make all the difference in the world in helping couples to raise a happy, well adjusted child. Having an open adoption can also be very beneficial as the child does not have to guess or fantasize what their birth parents are like as they get to know them first hand, even if it is just once or twice a year.