Everyone has a different parenting style, and people don’t always agree on the best way to raise a child. When you place your baby for adoption, you relinquish all legal rights you have to parent that child. This means that even if you really, really don’t like something the adoptive parents do, you don’t have any legal recourse. This is a really tough situation—you gave birth to this baby, but you don’t get a say in how the baby’s raised.
Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace
Your two options are simple: Either say something or keep it to yourself. In most situations, it’s better not to make an issue of it. Signing relinquishment is an act of trust, and you entrusted your child to the adoptive parents’ care. It’s hard to not have a sense of control, but it’s out of your hands. If you expect the adoptive family to be respectful of you and not make a commentary on your choices, you need to be respectful of them and do the same.
How Not to Talk to Your Baby’s Adoptive Parents
Getting in an argument with the adoptive parents about their parenting decisions could put your relationship at risk. If they feel attacked, they are less likely to want to have contact with you in the future for fear that they’ll be attacked again. It’s not fair, but since you don’t have any legal rights, sometimes it’s better to just let it go.
If you absolutely must say something, try to be as nonconfrontational as possible. Instead of coming to them and saying, “I don’t like such and such that you’re doing,” ask them why they’re doing it. Trying to understand the reasons they are making that particular parenting decision may help you feel better about it, or it may help them examine themselves and make changes. Either way, no one likes to feel picked on, so be as gentle as possible.
Navigating open adoptions is tricky, especially when issues like this arise. If both parties can compromise and be respectful, then it can be a fulfilling relationship for everyone involved.
Annaleece Merrill is a birth mother to the cutest little girl on earth. She loves being an advocate for open adoption by writing, mentoring, and speaking at adoption panels. She attends Utah State University in Logan, Utah.