What are open adoptions? What are closed adoptions?
Suppose you have never known anyone who has been adopted or had any connection with the adoption process. In that case, it can seem a little confusing. You wonder, “How do women find adoptive families?” “Does the birth mom even know who they are?” What if a birth mom wants to see her child again?” All of these are legitimate questions.
In the past, adoption was handled much differently. Because there was a social stigma about being an “unwed” mother, many young women were forced to “give up” their babies. Today, nothing can be further from the truth. Adopting now is entirely in the hands of the birth mother and birth father, if available. No one “gives up” their baby. The prospective birth mother decides who, where, and how her baby will be raised.
Modern adoption looks very different. Sometimes a family member is asked to raise a child. In fact, the American Pregnancy Association says, “More than half of United States adoptions are stepparent adoptions.” If a child is placed in foster care, there is a possibility for adoption through the state. A woman can choose to make an adoption plan that is either an open, closed, or semi-open adoption. The birth mother can choose to work with an agency, attorney, or another adoption facilitator.
No two adoption plans are the same. Even the terms open and closed adoption can be interpreted differently. Open adoptions generally refer to a plan where the birth parents and adoptive parents share identifying information such as first and last names, addresses, phone numbers, and any other contact information. In addition, in-person contact between the two families can happen before and after the birth depending on the type of relationship everyone wishes to have.
Open adoptions follow a process typically determined by the birth mother. She decides how much contact she wants to have with the adoptive family and, eventually, her child. The birth mother can request photos, updates through letters or email, and even occasional visits. These days, many prospective birth moms choose open adoption because they want to build a relationship with the family that adopts their child. Prospective adoptive parents need to understand and be willing to accommodate a birth mom at any point in the process.
A closed adoption plan means there is no identifying information exchanged, no in-person visits, and no ongoing contact. The birth mother has complete anonymity. Often, a birth mother sees a closed adoption as a way to move on with her life. It can offer a sense of closure and privacy. Plus, it closes the door to further discussion if family and friends are not in favor of the adoption.
Your Next Step
Regardless of which plan a woman chooses, she will know her baby will be well cared for. Potential adoptive families submit profiles, have background checks, and home studies to ensure they have room for a little one. There is no denying the process of adoption is challenging. Deciding whether it is better to have communication or not requires soul searching. Although adoption can be an incredible, selfless act, it can also be painful. It is vital to have a strong support network.
At Dove Medical, we can provide information on adoption. We’re here to listen. It costs nothing to talk with us. Schedule your appointment to discuss your choice.