Picture Update Tips
It may seem premature to think about the contact you will have after the adoption with your child’s birth mother, but a lot of the waiting to adopt time is meant for preparation and education. What you think about, read, and plan for now is getting you ready for your match, the delivery (or meeting, if an older child), and the relationship you will have after the adoption is done.
Remember, you will be discussing with your child’s birth mother what the relationship will look like so expectations are set prior to the adoption.
Most ongoing contact with the birth family includes some type of photos. Perhaps you print photos out and send through the mail, or you send them digitally through email, text messages, or social media. However you share photos of your child, here are a few tips to keep in mind as you think about what that might look like:
- Always send photos of the baby or child with one or both of you, especially when they are under five years old. The birth family needs to see that her child is part of a happy family and associate her child as having a role in your family.
- Be sure you send happy photos. Even if a pouty face looks cute to you, choose happy faces for this purpose.
- Keep safety in mind. Ensure that everything and everyone in the photo portrays the safe home and family that you are providing.
- If a photo is cute but the child has bruises, scrapes, or is dirty, choose a different one. (A smiling face full of frosting from a first birthday cake is more of a “happy dirty” than a muddy face. Use good judgement.)
These tips are based on feedback I have heard from birth mothers over the past 30 years…
A photo of a baby alone, who can’t sit up, may looks helpless to his birth mother. Or he may appear lonely like no one is taking care of him. Similarly, a child who looks sad or dirty may look neglected or uncared for. Finally, unsafe circumstances such as sitting alone in a bathtub may simply look worrisome like he may slip in and no one would be there to catch him.
These may seem extreme, but remember you will be seeing your child every day. A birth mother only has these photographic glimpses to grasp on to. You want to ensure that she has no question about her adoption decision or her child’s happiness and safety with you as his parents.