Open vs. Closed Adoption – An Honest Comparison
Before seeking an adoption opportunity, both prospective adoptive parents and expecting mothers should determine whether they are interested in an open or closed adoption relationship, or even somewhere in the middle. The following explains open adoption vs closed adoption and which might be best for your situation and goals.
Open AdoptionDescribing situations in which birth parents and adoptive families keep in regular contact, open adoptions typically include: Exchange of information – Once an adoptive family and birth mother are matched, they can trade identifying information such as last names, personal email addresses, and any other information that will help them keep in contact Pre-placement contact – Before the baby is born, the birth mother and adoptive family will probably correspond over email and have at least one conversation over the phone. The adoptive family will also usually travel to the birth mother’s location for an in-person visit. Post-placement contact agreements – As they communicate, the birth mother and adoptive family can come to an agreement on exactly the kind of relationship the birth mother will have with the child and how often they will communicate.
Considerations for Adoptive ParentsOpen adoption benefits not just the adoptive family, but everyone in the adoption triad. The free flow of communication between the members of the adoption triad is especially good for the adopted child, who can contact his or her birth mother whenever questions arise. Adoptive parents should remember that an open adoption is not just a relationship, but a promise that families make to birth parents. Parents should always do their best to honor their contact agreement as time passes. For many, this is not an issue; in fact, may adoptive families develop strong relationships with the birth parents of their children and even come to view them as extended family members.
Considerations for Birth ParentsThe nature of adoption has changed greatly over the years, and open adoptions are one of the many ways that birth parents can take charge of their adoption plans. Instead of having to wonder whether or not they chose the right family or how their child is doing, they will always know. In an open adoption, birth parents have the opportunity to get to know the family they have chosen for their child, which puts many people at ease and makes the difficult decision of adoption much easier. More importantly, birth parents will get to know their child. Not only does this provide peace of mind for the birth parents, but it gives them the opportunity to talk to their child about adoption and provide that same peace of mind to the child.
Closed AdoptionAlso known as a confidential adoption, a closed adoption involves:
- Little to no exchange of identifying information – In some closed adoptions, a birth mother and adoptive family might communicate briefly, but no identifying information will be shared.
- Protection of privacy on both sides – Any communication or exchange of information – for example, medical records – will be mediated by an adoption specialist to ensure that the birth mother and adoptive family’s information is kept confidential.
- No contact after the child’s birth – Once the child is born, there will be no visits, communication, or exchange of pictures or letters. In some cases, an adoption agency may hold onto pictures or letters in the event that the birth mother wants access to them later.