The Cradle Blog

Lack of Communication

openness, adoption, open adoption, communication

We often hear from birthparents concerned about a lack of communication with the adoptive family. Often times they are concerned because they are not receiving updates from their child’s family as often as they used to. Occasionally, a significant amount of time has gone by since the last communication.

Try not to jump to conclusions.
Under these circumstances, it’s easy to jump to conclusions and assume the worst. It is common to wonder if you’ve done something or said something wrong or have somehow insulted the adoptive family. Sometimes birthparents tell us they feel like everything was going fine, then something changed. They fear that they will never hear from the adoptive parents again. And often, especially if it was the birthparent herself who let the communication gap continue longer than she intended, she may also feel too embarrassed to reach back to the family and ask for an update. This feeling, a feeling that she may have somehow failed the family and her child, can make it very difficult to ask the adoptive parents to reconnect.

Take a step back.
While all of these feelings are understandable, it is really important not to make too many assumptions. Take a step back and remember there are a lot of reasons why contact may wane. The lives of both adoptive and birth families consist of a lot of activities other than adoption. There may be location changes, an illness in the family, vacations, etc… events that push communication to the backburner, even when everyone acknowledges how important contact is.

Often times, especially as a child grows older, adoptive families may simply feel as though there are no big changes in the child’s life, so an update isn’t necessary. Everything is going well; the child is doing fine, you may even be Facebook friends, so may feel like there is no need for another letter. The family simply may not realize how very important every email or letter is to you.

Don't be afraid to ask for what you'd like
Rather than assuming the worst, consider that the family simply got busy and forgot to connect. It’s important to communicate your feelings and wishes directly to them. Remember that your relationship with your child’s parents is just that, a relationship. And like any other relationship communication is an extremely important piece. Simply send an email, text or call and ask how things are going. Acknowledge that time has really flown by and you’ve been thinking about them. Let the family know that regular updates are very important to you even if not much is new.

How The Cradle can help
Our Center for Lifelong Adoption Support is here to help you if you are struggling to get your relationship back on track. It may help just to talk through the situation with us and get a better perspective on what may be happening. We can help you decide how to reach out and let your child’s parents know that you’d like to hear from them more; let them know that even if nothing has changed, you’d like to know just that. Or, we can reach out for you. To discuss your family's specific situation and how we might be able to help, schedule an appointment with one of our therapists.

Maybe something has happened. Maybe, unknowingly and unintentionally, something was said or done to upset someone in the relationship and a reminder that you’d like to hear from them more is not enough. That’s why we’re here. We can help get the conversation started and the concerns sorted out.

One thing important to remember is that it is never too late. No matter how long it’s been, or how embarrassed you may feel about a dropped connection, it is never too late to reach back out.