Navigating Birth Family Relationships & Openness

Navigating relationships with a child's original birth family or relatives can be nerve-wracking, heart-breaking and complicated, yet also poignant and beautiful. Children, once grown, often voice that staying connected to these family members is beyond meaningful, even if painful and disappointing. Nothing can take the place of knowing one's roots, identity and culture. Our job (which is tough!) is to support and keep them safe as they seek out and explore this connection. Please also reference our Adoptee & Foster Voices, Birth Parent Grief & Loss, Grandparents & Relative Caregivers, Incarceration, Siblings, Talking to Kids About Adoption, Foster Care & Other Hard Things, and Transracial Parenting pages for more resources.

"Regardless of how you feel, the most important part of talking to your child about his or her birth parents is LISTENING." ~Dr. Chaitra Wirta-Leiker - author in ORPARC's library

"If clear, open communication about the child’s past (also including the birth family) is present before the child’s adolescence and is appropriate to the child’s age and development, the child will experience better psychological development, fewer behavioral problems and a higher level of wellbeing within the new family." ~Santona et al, 2022, Talking About the Birth Family Since the Beginning


Recommended Books & Articles

Openness & mediation-related Materials in ORPARC's library and DIGITAL library, including Openness Information Packet & Parenting Time Information Packet developed by ORPARC

Culturally specific

Videos & Podcasts