What is Open Adoption?
Open adoption is a form of adoption that allows the adopted child’s birth parents to know and have contact with the adoptive parents and the adopted child. With open adoption, expectant mothers may take part in selecting the adoptive parents who will raise their child.
Depending on how open the adoption plan may be, some open adoptions, may include other birth family members and allow them to have some level of contact with the adoptive parents and the adopted child. Depending on everyone involved and, in some way, depending on what feels comfortable for everyone. You and the baby’s father can decide how large a role you would each like to play—when the adoption process is taking place, and after it becomes final.
Often times the feelings about openness may change over time for birth parents, the adopted children, or the adoptive parents. Adoption agencies have helped hundreds of expectant parents and adoptive families decide which level of openness is right for them as they create a mutual adoption plan together.
How Does Open Adoption Work?
Well, there is no defined answer for how open adoptions works. It’s a plan you put together that you will is write for you and your baby. It’s your plan and you determine how open you would like your adoption for your baby to be. There is no one “right” way that works for everyone.
Adopted children know they have been adopted and may have relationships with one or more members of their birth families.
Communication between birth mothers (and sometimes birth fathers, grandparents, or other relatives) and adoptive parents may take place through letters, phone calls, e-mails, or visits.
Families communicate in ways that feel comfortable to them. Some send pictures and brief notes. Others celebrate holidays together. The type of contact and how often it happens will depend on the needs and choices of everyone involved and may change over time.
Let the family know what open adoption looks like to you and make sure everyone understands and communicates things clearly.
Open adoption does not mean parenting your child together with the adoptive parents. Like all forms of adoption, the adoptive parents will have the permanent legal rights and responsibilities for parenting and raising the child.
3 Levels of Openness:
Fully Open, Semi-open, Closed
Fully open adoption means everyone involved in your adoption plan may have direct contact with the adoptive parents and your child. This means that you, possibly the birth father, and/or other members of your families can see your child, interact, and develop a relationship. In most fully open adoption plans, the child knows that they are adopted and he/she knows that you are the their biological parent. But as with any relationship, it may take time for everyone to get to know and trust each other and better understand his or her roles.
In fully open adoption plans, both you and your child’s adoptive parents have identifying information about each other such as phone numbers, addresses, and social media accounts.
In a semi-open adoption, or sometimes called a mediated adoption, an appointed adoption professional, will pass along letters, photos, or other information between you and the adoptive family. You will get receive updates about your child and you will know what they look like, but there may or may not be direct contact between you and your child (until they turn 18). This semi-open adoption allows for birth parents and adoptive parents to communicate and exchange information while maintaining their privacy.
Neither your personal information or your child’s adoptive parents’ will have access to super personal information like names, addresses, or phone numbers, instead it will be handled by the adoption professional.
Closed adoption means that there is no communication between you or the child’s adoptive parents. You do not share any personal information and do not receive any updates about the child. In some cases, there may be an opportunity to reconnect with your child after they turn 18, but that is not guaranteed. Many closed adoption records are permanently sealed.
What Are the Benefits of Open Adoption?
Choosing adoption is a loving parenting decision that shows you care for your child.
The benefits for you of placing your child through open adoption may include:
- A sense of control over decisions about placing your child with adoptive parents that you have chosen for your child.
- Comfort in knowing your child is growing up safe, healthy, and loved by a compassionate and responsible family
- Support in dealing with your feelings of grief and loss that can come up after placement
- Developing a personal relationship with the adoptive parents and the child
Pregnant & Considering Open Adoption?
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