Open vs. closed adoption: Which is right for you?

| Mar 30, 2020 | Adoption

Before adopting a child, you and your partner (if applicable) must make several considerations. One important consideration is whether you want an open adoption or closed adoption, or if you want an arrangement that falls somewhere in between the two. Considering Adoption explains the differences between the arrangements and how to determine which may be right for you.

Open adoption

In an open adoption, both adoptive and birth parents maintain regular contact both pre- and post-placement. During the pre-placement phase, you may correspond regularly with the birth mother via email and telephone. You may even visit the birth mother in-person before the child is born.

During the post-adoption phase, you and the birth mother will continue to communicate, with you sharing information and updates on your adopted child. To make sure neither party oversteps his or her boundaries, you and the birth mother will need to agree as to what type of relationship the birth mother will have with the child and the frequency of contact.

Open adoption is becoming increasingly popular, and for good reason. The open relationship benefits all involved parties, especially the child. Children in open adoption relationships benefit from the ability to contact their birth parents whenever questions arise. They also enjoy greater peace of mind that their birth parents’ decision was in their best interests. If you opt for open adoption, you should always do your best to honor the agreement as time passes.

Closed adoption

In a closed adoption, there is little to no communication between the parties either before or after the adoption takes place. Though you and the birth mother may communicate briefly pre-adoption, an adoption specialist will mediate most of the process.

In a closed adoption, you nor the other party will exchange information. This means you are unlikely to receive the birth mother’s medical records. Once the child is born, the birth mother will not be able to visit or communicate with him or her, and you will have no obligation to send letters or photos of your child.

Though a confidential adoption makes sense in some situations, you should carefully consider the consequences of pushing for a closed adoption. A closed adoption eliminates the possibility of you or your adopted child developing a fulfilling relationship with the birth mother. It also increases the likelihood that your child will struggle with the notion that he or she is adopted, as he or she cannot glean insight from the birth mother. Finally, few birth mothers today agree to closed adoptions. Insisting on a closed adoption could significantly increase your wait time.