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Setting Boundaries In Open-Adoptions

setting boundaries adoption, adoption boundaries, open adoption communication

I recently posed a question to adoptive parents and prospective adoptive parents,

“What are some questions or topics that you feel are off-limits or difficult to talk to birthmothers about?”

I was rewarded with some incredible questions and given insight into the adoptive parent experience. This is so valuable for me as a birthmother because I know how uncomfortable communication can be at times.

I will be touching on the questions and thoughts that came from those adoptive parents that replied to my question in later blog posts; I am incredibly grateful for those questions and if you are reading this and have any more, please email me at There was one unique response that I really wanted to touch on and share. This response came from a second time adoptive family. The response is so precious because I believe this is something truly missing in adoption relationships and could really strengthen the bond between adoptive parents and birthmothers.

The response I received, without quoting it word for word, was this:

“I can’t think of anything we would be afraid to ask a birthmother. I’ve thought about this for a few hours and mostly I believe once you have been chosen by a birthmother there is a bond with them. I always asked our birth mom if it was okay to ask her anything and I also asked her if there is anything that is off-limits to ask about.”

If you are a birthmother, an adoptive parent, or an adoptee, you already understand that the relationship can, at times, be uncomfortable. Nobody wants to step on toes, nobody wants to offend, and we want to keep the relationship friendly and amicable without crossing boundaries – that we aren’t aware exist in the first place. We are each afraid of causing a problem.

The problem with handling the relationship this way is that we are unable to initiate a conversation that involves boundary setting.

I chose this example to share because I strongly believe that setting boundaries upfront can alleviate much of the tension and stress that comes post-adoption. If there is one thing that I want you to take from this blog it is this, “I always asked our birth mom if it was okay to ask her anything and I also asked her if there is anything that if off limits to ask about.”

I don’t want to leave this on the shoulders of adoptive parents to carry alone, however. I do believe that the conversation can also be initiated by the birthmother. It doesn’t matter who initiates the conversation – what matters is that both parties are open to receiving and respecting boundaries and opening the lines of communication so that the bond can strengthen. This relationship is unlike any other. It is a bit fragile. It can be tricky to maneuver but it can be done successfully.

Premier Adoption has helped families and women in Nevada, Arizona, and Utah explore the depths and details of their open and semi-open adoptions and is committed to helping these relationships grow in a healthy, functional way. If you have any questions about adoption in these states or if you are considering adoption as a pregnant woman, please contact Premier Adoption for help.


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