What’s in a Photo?

Today, many adoptions have some level of openness. This openness may be anything from regular visits between the adoptive family and the birth parents and family to just sharing identifying information. But a common theme in a majority of these adoptions is the sharing of photos.

Photos of the adoptee are a way to show his or her birth family their growth and development and that they are thriving and happy. From the first days in the hospital, to first birthdays, first tooth, first steps, to first day of school, to the first bad haircut – each moment is precious to the birth parent and family. Plus, who else can enjoy the funny school pictures as much as you!

Photos of the birth family are just as important and valuable to the adoptee. What a blessing to have pictures of the birth parent holding him or her during hospital time. Photos of the birth and adoptive parents together are priceless. They allow the child to understand how much they are loved by both sets of their parents! Photos over the years also let the child know their birth parent and family are thriving and happy.

With today’s busy schedules and hectic lifestyles sharing photos on a regular basis can be a challenge! Here are just a few ideas to help make the sharing of photos easier:

• Order extra professional or school photos and have an envelope addressed and ready to be sent when you get them.
• Set aside a day and time every three to six months for your child and you to choose photos they want to send to their birth family. They can also draw or paint a special picture to send with. Make a special trip to mail them. What a great way to talk about their adoption story and what a wonderful gift they are to you.
• Keep a folder of pictures on your computer and set a day, such as the first of every month, to email them.
• Take extra pictures of holidays, birthdays and special occasions such as the first time your child loses a tooth, to send to their birth parent. It is a sweet way to share in these moments.
• Make an extra copy of your child’s life book or baby book pages to give to their birth parent.

So what is in a photo? It is a pictorial history of the bond we share as birth parents and as adoptive parents with our child. It is a way to see how we are all connected, heart to heart, in this special relationship .

Submitted by Dede Mogck, Director of Adoption and Foster Care Programs

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