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What are the drawbacks to visits with the biological family?

Can anyone tell me how visits with the bio family might be a detriment to the child? I can think of several: confusion, coparenting, boundary issues, concerns about negative influences, different values . . .

I am asking about visits, not open adoption. The APs can trade contact information and letters with the original mom without having visits. In other words, the child can know her heritage and the identity of her original parents, without visits.

We have not agreed to visits. We are trying to identify the pros and cons BEFORE we agree to anything.

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Asked by Anonymous at 7:45 AM on Nov. 14, 2010 in Adoption

Answers (23)
  • I'm not sure about adoption, but I know someone who fosters 3 children, with parental visits. Each visit sets the children back emotionally. They spend a few days getting settled into their new home, and then seeing their parents disrupts that. It prevents the child from adapting completely to a more safe and secure environment. If you were in a fire, and rescued, would you want to be put back in that fire every three or four days? Each time the children see their parents, and come back to the foster household, they misbehave, act up, get emotional. They're all under the age of six, and two of them have voiced a desire to stop seeing their parents. I'd say, if the visitation is not state mandated, I wouldn't bother.

    Answer by BisketLiss at 7:51 AM on Nov. 14, 2010

  • A relative has had visits with the child she gave up for adoption. It was when the child was a baby and so it was a stranger coming to visit. Since the child was so young there was no need to explain who this person was or anything like that. She was simply called by her first name while she visited. It was very emotional for my relative after she left. She knows the child is in a wonderful home and she only visited a few times when the child was an infant. The older the child gets the more complicated things get. I would want the bio family to be called by there first names only and there wuld only be visits in my home. There would not be any overnights or day trips or anything like that. That is how private I would want it to be.

    running out of space. Will add a second answer......

    Answer by elizabr at 8:03 AM on Nov. 14, 2010

  • Other relatives asked me and my husband if we would adopt the baby of their pregnant teen. They wanted to be called the child's grandpa and grandma. My DH said no.....our parents would be the grandparents.  We knew we just couldn't do it because the bio family would be way more involved than we were comfortable with.  That is simply how we feel about it.  It is different for everyone.  I hope these comments were helpful in a small way.  I wish you all the best.


    Answer by elizabr at 8:06 AM on Nov. 14, 2010

  • I hear about confusion a lot. I don't get it. "I'm your mommy because I'm raising you, birth mom Alice is your birth mom because she gave birth to you." Why is that more confusing than "nana and pawpaw are your grandparents because they are daddy's parents, and grammy and grandad are your grandparents because they are your mommy's parents." ? OR "Step mom Jo is your step mom because daddy and I aren't married anymore and he married step mom Jo"?

    Open adoption is not coparenting. Other relatives will have different values too, would you not let your children see your brother and SIL because they are atheists and let their kids stay up late and watch the simpsons?

    The one drawback I can see is that at the end of the visit the adoptee might be very sad. Well my answer to that is more visits.


    Answer by onethentwins at 11:20 AM on Nov. 14, 2010

  • I agree with onethentwins. I don't understand how being a part of a separate family that you can't see, talk to, or get to know but are still supposed to understand who they are and what adoption is, is LESS confusing than being able to put names with faces and be able to ask questions by visiting them.

    Sometimes I wonder if the deeper roots of fearing "confusion" are the fact that the APs are afraid an adoptee will like the First Parents better, will view them as equal, or as also being their parents. Adoption for too long has been seen to erase the original family (and legally, it does), which it shouldn't. If an adoptee chooses to view their First Parents, this way or that way, that's their decision.

    Boundary issues and concerns about co-parenting sound like things an AP would find inconvenient to deal with, not necessarily something that would detract from a child's experience.

    Answer by NovemberLove at 12:16 PM on Nov. 14, 2010

  • Parenting is about doing what is right for a child, even when it is inconvenient for a parent. I think what is a good thing to do is tell the original parents this before making agreements--if you feel they might become a bad influence and that you would have to cut off visits in the best interest of the child should that happen, they need to know that before they sign the surrender papers.

    As for value differences, I don't see the issue there. I grew up with a variety of close friends that I visited with regularly that were of a wide variation of values and religions different than mine. I encounter people who view the world differently than I do each and every single day. It is a part of life. It's not a reason to keep a child from seeing their First Family, IMHO.

    Answer by NovemberLove at 12:19 PM on Nov. 14, 2010

  • re: the discussion, I also don't understand why an adoptee would only be allowed to acknowledge the adoptive family relatives as being "real" relatives and not their First relatives as well. It bothers me when children are asked to leave their original lives and families behind as if they do not exist or can no longer be important in order to embrace their adoptive family. Is this what's right for the child or parents projecting their own insecurities onto the adoptee??

    When I traced my heritage by birth, my roots, and my nationality, my Adoptive Mother (whom yes, I love very much) felt very unhappy and like she was being replaced because I was not satisfied with replacing my own roots with hers. The experience did not teach me to ditch my roots for the feelings of others. No, instead, it taught me simply not to share with others how I felt.

    Luckily, we have worked through that and she understands now. :-)

    Answer by NovemberLove at 12:28 PM on Nov. 14, 2010

  • As a parent of open adoption, i can say that I have not experienced any drawbacks to open adoption. My children are not confused. The birth family members are respectful and don't try to coparent. What is really neat, though, is when you run into a problem that you need some advice on (baby is having rashes due to some foods, child is having a hard time sharing his toys) it is really nice to have the birth mother to talk to. Nobody in this world loves your baby/ child as much as you....except for their birth mother. So, when you get advice from a birth mother, you know that they are advising you out of pure love of the child and wanting what is best. It's really neat. Even asking my parents for advice isn't as valuable to me because they have more of a "tough love" kind of philosophy. I have never disagreed with advice given to me by one of my children's birth mothers. it is a real blessing. And, since we have had an open.....

    Answer by hollyanne31 at 2:58 PM on Nov. 14, 2010

  • ....adoption since birth, the kids are loving toward their birth parents so it is not strange at all. From my POV, a child cannot have too much love. How neat is it that my boys never have to wonder if their birth parents loved them. They will know, just like they know that their grandmas and grandpas and aunts and uncles love them. It's really neat.

    I feel confident enough in my mothering ability to not be jealous of a relationship my children have with their birth mother.

    Answer by hollyanne31 at 3:01 PM on Nov. 14, 2010

  • Right on hollyanne

    Answer by onethentwins at 3:42 PM on Nov. 14, 2010

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