In an open adoption, the adoptive and birth families share information and may talk or correspond with each other during and after the adoption. That said, it’s important to note that no two open adoptions are alike.
Ongoing contact may be in the form of visits and phone calls or it could mean photos, cards, letters, emails and texts. Open adoption arrangements include a variety of types of contact shared between parties, depending on the desires of the birth parents and the adoptive family.
Your friend can meet with or talk to the adoptive family before the birth if they’re interested in doing that.
In a closed adoption the identities of the adoptive family and birth mother remain confidential. There is no contact prior to or after the placement of the child. Communication between parties may go through an attorney or adoption agency until the child reaches legal age (18-21, depending on the state).
Closed adoptions are not as popular as they once were but are the best choice for some. For example, some birth parents want a closed adoption to provide a sense of closure. Also, if your friend is dealing with an abusive relationship, minimizing contact can be in everyone’s best interests. And of course, if a birth mother chooses not to share news of the pregnancy and adoption plan, closed adoption may make it easier to maintain privacy.
There is a middle ground between open and closed adoption – a semi-open relationship. This type of arrangement may involve limited contact after placement. The specifics of the plan are based on the needs and wants of the birth parents and adoptive family.