ongoing contactDear Mardie,

We have been speaking with a birth mother and  have a great friendship building. We think it is a match!  One concern is that we are fearful that she wants this level of friendship after the adoption. We chat on Facebook about three times per week.  We are open to keeping her updated but are not sure that we want to continue being as involved as we are now.  How do we handle this?


I think my first question might be to ask your purpose for building a friendship where you chat three times per week right now, if you no longer want to continue it after the adoption.  Many adoptive parents may act as if they are “only in it for the baby” and then once the adoption is done, they want contact to suddenly change to once or twice a year.
Whereas, most friendships, as they are build, have natural boundaries and expectations established.  I would harbor a guess that the birth mother you are matching with has an expectation that the relationship you are building is truly with her, and not for the sole purpose of adoption, only to have her feel that she is left high and dry.  This often results in bad adoptions, and casts a shadow that at times tags all adoptive parents as not being honest when it comes to ongoing contact.
Yes, your relationship is based in the common goal of completing an adoption. But if your friendship is true, what is the purpose in changing it after the adoption? She is one person in your life who will, along with many other family and friends, love your child.  She is the one who chose you, her choice made you parents.  Why do you suddenly want to limit contact aft the adoption?
Your child’s birth mother, above all others, loves your child the most.
Realistically, it can be tiring to maintain a needy relationship while parenting a newborn, but I would encourage you to see this as a true, lifelong friendship, based in the common love of your child.  In the early months of the adoption, she will be grieving her loss while you are celebrating your joy.  On birthdays, she will asking herself what might have been while you celebrate with cake and presents.  The very least you can do is show her gratitude through honoring the relationship and friendship you are building.
With all that said, have an open conversation that starts with “Have you thought about what type of contact you want after the adoption?”  Setting expectations so that everyone is on the same page is best.  Don’t be surprised if she responds with “Whatever you are comfortable with.”  Reassure her that your goal is to include her as part of your child’s life in the manor and frequency that she desires.  With open and honest communication, there leaves less room for heartbreak and disappointment.
Most importantly, don’t be afraid to talk about it.  Remember, she could choose to be mommy, she is choosing you instead.  For that choice, a true friendship may be the most valuable thing you can give in return.