One of the most common question from adoptive families is about open adoption verses closed adoption. Most people enter with fear and misunderstanding about what open adoption means. Open adoption is not co-parenting. It is the process of keeping communication channels open between the biological parents, the adoptive parents, and the adopted child. The best way to start the journey into learning about open vs. closed adoption is by defining the two terms.
Don't Worry, Children's Connections will work with you and educate you about your choices. We will help you make the decision that is best for you and your child.
According to the Oxford Dictionary, an Open Adoption is defined as a form of adoption in which the biological parents participate in the process of placing the child with an adoptive family and may continue to have contact thereafter.
A Closed Adoption is defined as a form of adoption in which the biological parents have no direct contact with the adoptive family, and the adoptive parents often know little or nothing about the biological parents.
When researching and making your choices, keep in mind the most important part - the child being adopted and what is best for them!
When you enter into an adoption match, you will be asked to complete an agreement on communication and openness. Level of communication will vary depending on the level of openness you agree to. The agreement is a good-faith agreement between you and the birth parent(s). It is not legally binding and the relationship may change over time, but please remember the child's best interests are the focus of the agreement.
Definitions do a fair job of explaining the differences from a high level. Now, lets dig deeper into each option. Open adoption can vary greatly depending on each situation. We will split the term of open adoption into many levels and you will need to decide how open a relationship you feel comfortable with. One recommendation is you should not choose your comfort level until you meet your birth parent(s). Have an open mind coming into the situation and be knowledgeable of your options.
Differing Levels of Open Adoption Explained
Very Open Adoption - Very open adoptions are relationships between adoptive and birth parent(s) where each side has the others phone number, email address, Facebook, and addresses. A special lifelong relationship is created. They may meet up on a very frequent basis. The child will be able to build a close relationship with their birth parent(s).
Open Adoption - The most common open adoption is where both parties share their personal information and they meet either at each other's homes or other settings. Contact information is shared back and forth. Meetings occur once or twice a year. The child will be able to meet their birth parent(s), know who they are, and have open communication channels available if desired.
Semi-Open Adoption - Some information is shared back and forth such as email or phone numbers, but not addresses or last names. Some privacy is maintained. Information shared via mail will go through Children's Connections. Meetings will take place at locations other than their homes and may involve a mediator of some sort. The child will have little contact with their birth parent(s).
Closed Adoption - Closed adoption is where there is no direct communication between the birth parent(s), adoptive parents, and the child. All communication will go through children's Connections and the ability for the child to meet their birth parent(s) is very little.
Changes Over Time
Levels of openness may change over time. The birth parent(s) may want a lot of communication at first, and then start to pull away. No matter what the birth parent(s) choose to do, please keep up your end of the agreement by sharing photos and information with Children's Connections. We keep all pictures we receive in a file forever or until either the child turns 18 or the birth parent(s) contact us.
Why Open Adoption is Important
There are numerous benefits for everyone involved in the adoption triad of you, the birth parent(s), and the child.
The Adopted Child
- The child will learn that they were not "given up", but instead that their birth mother loved them so much, she placed them for adoption with a loving family. She sacrificed her own wants for what was best for her child.
- Answer to questions they have that only their birth mother can answer.
- The child will be learn about their history, their story, and their biological family.
- Ability to meet biological siblings and their extended birth family.
- Most adoptions are open to one degree or another. By choosing an open adoption, you are opening your possibilities to be chosen earlier.
- By creating a relationship with the birth mother before she gives birth will help calm her fears and paint a picture for her of the life you will provide for the child. This all adds up to increasing your chances of a successful adoption.
- Knowing that your child can have difficult questions answered by their birth parent(s)
- Ability to tell your child stories about their birth parent(s)
- Knowing that they can maintain a relationship with their child helps calm their fears.
- By meeting and building a relationship with you, they are able to see a picture of how the child will be raised and loved.
- Comfort and reinforcement that they made the right decision.
- Ability to meet and form a relationship with their birth child.
Please contact us to learn more information. We would love to discuss each program in more detail with you and your family.
Children’s Connections is a licensed child-placing agency in Texas. We work with birth parents, genetic embryo donors and adoptive parents. We conduct infant, child, and embryo adoption that best meet the needs of all individuals involved.