Every adoption is unique, distinguished primarily by different levels of post-adoption contact. You may have heard the terms “open adoption” and “closed adoption”. These terms define two rigid, polar opposites. However, most adoptions don’t adhere 100% to either of these standards. Real adoptions fall somewhere on a continuum between the two.
An open adoption is one in which the adoptive and birth families share identifying information and have contact with each other perhaps during the pregnancy and certainly after the actual placement. After placement, the relationship continues through photos, cards and letters, emails and texts, and even in-person visits. The type and frequency of contact depends on what the birth parents and the adoptive family have agreed to. There are a lot of options for how such a relationship will work. An open adoption for one family could look very different from another.
A closed adoption means the identities of the adoptive and birth families are kept confidential. There is no contact prior to or after the placement of the child. Communication and information can be shared through a third party until the child reaches legal age (usually 18-21).
Most adoptions fall within the middle ground between open and closed. There are a lot of options for how the relationships among birth parents, the adoptive family, and the adopted child can work. An adoption for one family looks very different from another.
Choices in Adoption
Birthing a baby and placing them with an adoptive family is a major decision. If you choose adoption for your unplanned pregnancy, we can help you sort through your options. We provide information and support but respect that the final decision is yours. Any pregnant individual who works with us will create an adoption plan and is eligible to receive our free adoption services.
Here are some of the major choices you are empowered to make (if you choose) as part of an adoption plan.
- How involved do you want to be in selecting adoptive parents?
- Do you want to communicate with and/or meet adoptive parents before the birth?
- Do you want to spend time with the baby at the hospital?
- Do you want to receive regular written updates about the adopted child? How often?
- Do you want to receive photographs of the child?
- Do you want to talk with the child as he/she grows?
- Do you want to be able to visit the child and adoptive family?
Advantages of Open and Closed Adoptions
Here are some reasons why other birth parents have chosen one adoption type over another.
Those who choose open adoption want to maintain some contact with a baby they brought into the world. They believe an open adoption will reduce feelings of uncertainty and fear that may accompany placing a child with an adoptive family.
Those who choose a closed adoption are often seeking emotional closure and want privacy about the pregnancy and adoption. They may not feel able to handle an open adoption initially, but it is important to know that they can reach out to Friends in Adoption at any point if their feelings start to change.
Please remember that each adoption is different and can fall anywhere on the spectrum between the opposites of open and closed. Your adoption professional and adoption attorney can help you fine tune your adoption plan based on your desires. It is important to remember that open/closed adoption is a continuum and can potentially change over time as people change.
Come to Us for Adoption Information
If you are pregnant, live in the United States, and are considering adoption, our adoption experts will explain your options and honor your choices. Contact us for adoption information.