Helping a child maintain family relationships prior to adoption should be prioritized. It is important that children are able to sustain important connections to their birth family even if they are not able to live with them. This contact may include little or no communication; communication facilitated through a third party, anonymous email, or letters; or infrequent or ongoing direct interactions that are conducted in person or electronically. The amount of contact will vary from family to family and may change over time. There is no single type or degree of contact that is right for every family as it will depend on the child’s best interests. This section includes resources and information on methods for children to maintain contact with their birth family.
Connections Matter: Relationships With Birth Families Are Important for Foster, Adopted Children
Riley & Singer (2019)
Discusses the benefits of maintaining contact with birth families and tips on how to make the relationships between adoptive and birth parents work.
Contact Between Adoptive and Birth Families: Perspectives From the Minnesota Texas Adoption Research Project
Grotevant, McRoy, Wrobel, & Ayers-Lopez (2013)
Child Development Perspectives, 7(3)
Provides findings from a study on the dynamics of relationships among birth parents, adoptive parents, and adopted children based upon the level of contact.
Helping Children With Family Connections
Adoptive and Foster Family Coalition (2019)
Addresses the benefits of maintaining a connection with birth families. It also discusses the impact contact has on the children, parents, and social workers.
How Open Adoption Builds Bridges to Healing
Presents insights from an adoptive mother on how to sustain good relationships in an open adoption.
Creating a Family
Offers information about openness in adoption, including interviews with adoption professionals, blogs, and suggested books.
Planning and Supporting Birth Family Contact When Children Are Adopted From Care (PDF - 457 KB)
University of Massachusetts Amherst, Rudd Adoption Research Program
Provides an overview of the positive effects on adopted children when birth families and adoptive families work together.
Relationships With Your Birth Parents
Presents information about how to create a healthy and lasting relationship between adopted children and birth parents.
Understanding Open Adoption
Provides an overview of the challenges of open adoption and findings in current research.