Navigating the Adoption Triad: You, Your Baby and the Adoptive Family
Once you make the brave decision to place your baby for adoption, you become part of the adoption triad, otherwise known as the symbol of adoption. Just as it sounds, this symbol is a triangle that represents the three sets of interconnected relationships between you, your child and the adoptive family. As the birth mother, you have the power to make choices that affect how close these relationships are.
You will always be uniquely connected to your baby and the adoptive family. At Adoption Choices of Missouri, we are here to help you create an adoption plan that meets your needs and preferences for closeness and privacy within the adoption triad during the adoption process and post-placement.
The Three Points of the Adoption Triad
- The Pivotal Point: You
You’re unexpectedly pregnant and not ready, willing or able to raise a child. So you summon your strength and pursue adoption. By embarking on your adoption journey, you are navigating the adoption triad and connecting your baby with an adoptive family.
- The Top Point: Your Baby
Your baby is the top point of the triangle, loved by both you and the adoptive family. Because of your selfless decision made out of love, your baby will be nurtured and raised in a home by supportive adoptive parents. Your child will have access to opportunities, stability and safety.
- Completing the Triad: The Adoptive Family
The adoptive parents are your child’s legal parents. They will love, protect and care for your child. During the matching process, you will be able to view a number of adoptive parent profiles and select the one who you think would make the best fit for your child. Depending on your adoption agreement with them, you can also have the opportunity to get to know them and remain in your child’s life post adoption.
You and the Adoptive Family
You get to choose which type of adoption you’re comfortable with. You get to decide how much you interact with the adoptive parent(s).
- Pre-adoption: You may envision a close relationship with the adoptive family. You might want to visit with them after you’ve matched. Your adoption caseworker can coordinate a meeting. Maybe you want the adoptive parents to accompany you to prenatal doctor’s appointments. You might want them in the delivery room with you when you give birth.
On the other hand, you may not want to be that close with the adoptive parents. Maybe you only want to speak with them over the phone. Maybe you want your caseworker to mediate all communication. You might want to keep any identifying information about yourself private. Or you might not want to have any contact at all.
- Post-placement: Do you want to keep in touch with the adoptive family after adoption? You may want to remain close with the adoptive parents after the adoption has been finalized, or you may prefer to have more distance. You can agree to communicate via text, email or letter, and you can determine how frequently you want to contact each other.
Your desired level of openness with the adoptive family is a factor to consider when you’re looking at profiles of families waiting to adopt. You’ll want to know if your communication preferences pre- and post-adoption are compatible. Based on your preferences for closeness, you may want to choose an adoptive family that lives nearby or a family that lives in a different state. You want to make sure you match with a family who is on the same page about the type of relationship you’ll have with them.
You and Your Child
You and your child will always be bonded to each other, no matter how involved you are in their life after adoption. As you develop an adoption plan, consider what type of relationship you’d like to have with your child post-placement.
Do you want your child to know your identity, or do you prefer to keep that private?
Do you want to receive updates about your child’s life? Do you want the adoptive parents to send photos of your child? At Adoption Choices of Missouri, adoptive parents must be willing to send a letter with pictures once a year until your child has reached adulthood, if you wish. You can also send letters and pictures of your own if you want your child to know more about you but are more comfortable doing so from a distance.
Would you like to be more involved in your child’s life? Maybe you’d like to see your child in person once they’ve reached a certain age. Maybe you could visit on holidays or for your child’s birthday. You can talk with the adoptive family to see what sort of arrangements would work for both of you.
A Triangle of Relationships
Sometimes, navigating the adoption triad might seem tricky or confusing. Do not be afraid to seek out support if you are sad, unsure or struggling in any way. At Adoption Choices of Missouri, our caseworkers offer guidance, support and resources to help you feel at peace as you go through the adoption process. We offer counseling services, which you can turn to before and after your baby has been placed for adoption. Additionally, we can help you find a birth mother support group so you can learn from other women who’ve gone through the adoption process and established different types of relationships with their children and their adoptive families.
The adoption journey is a special experience that connects three groups of people. We are here to help you make sure that these relationships go as smoothly as possible according to your wishes.
Navigating the Adoption Triad
You, your baby and the adoptive parents are linked together. As you figure out whether an open, semi-open or closed adoption is the best type of adoption for you, it is important to think about what you’d like your adoption triad to look like both during the adoption process and after the placement.
Meet the Author: Zoë Bowlus, a writing and editing enthusiast, considers herself a grammar groupie and suffers from a weakness for wordplay and working with words, whether she is reading, furiously typing away, playing Words with Friends, or filling in the Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle.
She was adopted from Vietnam as a baby and began exploring her adoptee identity in Asian American Studies and Communication courses at UC Santa Barbara. As she combed through adoption literature for her last essay of college (she graduated with highest honors in 2020), she was inspired to use the research, editing, and writing skills she developed in college and her personal experience to create resources and share stories about adoption in a professional context. Writing for Adoption Choices, Zoë hopes to support people on their adoption journeys and to grow as an adoptee herself.
Zoë is an aspiring cat lady who is allergic to cats. She enjoys curling up with homemade hot chocolate, kettle corn, and a good book but laments the absence of a feline reading companion. Her bedside table and bookshelves are overflowing with World War II historical fiction, Asian American and Mexico-U.S. borderlands fiction, contemporary fiction, grammar and style books, and collections of profiles. She spends an inordinate amount of time playing bridge.
An avid NBA fan, Zoë lives in Sacramento, the primary reason anyone would root for the Kings. She holds out hope that they will make it to the playoffs during her lifetime.