Open adoptions are one of the many ways that prospective birth mothers have control over their adoption plans. This is one of the best ways to stay in contact with your child after the adoption.
But, if you’re considering adoption for the first time, you probably have a lot of questions on your mind: What’s it like to “give up” a child for open adoption? How does an open adoption work?
Don’t worry — there are answers to your questions. Below, find some information to help you prepare for your post-placement relationship during your open adoption research.
What is Open Adoption?
Open adoptions are frequently the most common types of adoptions today. This type of relationship is perfect for prospective birth parents and adoptive families that want to be involved in each other’s lives before and after the adoption.
Each open adoption plan is unique. For your plan, you might choose to share contact through:
- Phone calls
- Instant messaging services
- In person visits
- And more
You will always have the final say in an open adoption, and you are never obligated to share contact with the adoptive family. An adoption specialist would be more than happy to explain more about what this process can look like for you.
The Facts About Open Adoption
Adoption professionals will strongly suggest that a prospective birth mother considers an open adoption. But, you may be wondering, “Why should I consider an open adoption with my child?”
Ultimately, this decision will always be up to you. But, here are some of the benefits of an open adoption that you should know before choosing your post-placement relationship:
- A stronger relationship with the adoptive family: Both prospective birth parents and hopeful adoptive couples tend to have their own preconceived notions about what to expect during the adoption process. But, with an open adoption, you can get to know each at your own pace and develop a better understanding for both of your unique situations.
- A deeper connection to your child: With an open adoption, your child will grow up knowing who you are and why you made a brave, selfless sacrifice for their best interest. Through frequent communication, your child can get to know their open adoption story.
- A chance to heal from your grief: Even when you know that adoption might be the best option for yourself and your baby, it doesn’t always stop the pain that you may feel after placement. Having openness before and after the adoption can help you heal and provide the type of closure that you need to live a healthy life.
In addition, open adoption statistics have shown that choosing an open adoption is better for every party’s emotional well‐being and overall happiness.
Open Adoption Definitions
Because no two open adoptions are the same, we can’t stick to just one definition of open adoption. That’s why it’s better to define open adoption as if it’s created on a scale. On one end of the scale we have an open, or a full‐disclosure, adoption. In the middle, we have what are called “semi‐open adoptions.” And at the opposite end of the scale are closed adoptions.
Semi‐open adoptions are a great option for prospective birth mothers that are looking for more privacy but still want to be a part of their child’s life as he or she grows up. With a semi‐open adoption, you can still send pictures and letters to your child and receive pictures and letters from the adoptive family. To help protect your privacy, you adoption agency can mediate your semi-adoption agreement for the first 18 years of your child’s life.
If you need additional help mediating contact, your adoption agency would be happy to facilitate that for your open adoption, as well.
Open adoptions aren’t for every prospective birth mother. While most adoption professionals will strongly suggest an open adoption or at least some level of communication after placement, closed adoptions are still a possibility. With this option, you won’t share any personal information about yourself, including your first name, address and what state you live in.
Keep in mind that closed adoptions don’t prevent your child from trying to connect with you later in life. Once they’ve turned 18, they can sometimes unseal their original birth certificates and try to reach out to you. Whether this is possible will depend on what state you live in.
If you think that pursuing a closed adoption instead of an open adoption is the right choice for you, don’t be afraid to ask your adoption specialist for more resources and information to help you make an informed decision.
Looking for More Open Adoption Information?
Adoption information can be found in more places than just an adoption agency. Many people have gone through an open adoption and have taken the time to share their open adoption stories. You might even find that open adoption stories from adoptive parents and their children can help you make the best choice for your baby.
Some of the best places to find out more open adoption information are through open adoption blogs and forums. There, you can find more honest portrayals of the open adoption process and what you can expect during your open adoption. Your adoption specialist can also help you find more of these resources, especially if you’re looking for more open adoption articles.
If you’re ready to learn more about openness in adoption, here are some agencies that you can reach out to for more assistance.