Sense of Control: Having the ability to select the parents for your child can provide a sense of empowerment, security, and control.
Reduced uncertainty, fear, or guilt: Most birth parents feel reassured knowing about the child’s well-being through regular interactions with the adoptive family. Knowing their child is in good hands reduces any concerns or guilt about the decision to place their child for adoption.
Relationship with Child: With an open adoption, there is the potential to develop a mutually beneficial relationship with the child as he or she matures.
How Does an Open Adoption Work?
How an open adoption works depends on the people involved. Typically the prospective birth parents and adoptive families get to know each other prior to placement. This can be via phone calls, video calls, email changes, or in-person visits. After the adoption, the relationship can continue through their preferred correspondence method. It could be photos, cards and letters, or emails and texts, and even in-person visits. The method and frequency all depends on what the birth parents and the adoptive family have agreed to.
Emotional closure: For some, an open adoption might be too painful. Some birth parents can feel that a closed adoption will provide a sense of closure for them.
Safety: If the birth parent is dealing with a toxic or abusive environment, it can be in everyone’s best interests to minimize contact.
Privacy: If a birth parent chooses to keep their pregnancy and adoption plan private, closed adoption may make it easier for them to maintain their privacy.
How a Closed Adoption Works
Communication and information to be shared between birth parents and the adoptive family goes through a third party, often adoption agency, until the child reaches legal age (18-21, depending on the state).
In a closed adoption the prospective birth mother may still choose the adoptive family if interested. A case manager will help them choose the family or the case manager can choose the family for them if they desire. A case manager will also work with the prospective birth mother to set up her hospital adoption plan. Any contact after the placement would go through the adoption agency. For instance, if a birth mother found out about a medical condition later in life, she can contact the adoption agency, who would then forward this information to the adoptive family for the child’s wellbeing.
This is the middle ground – a semi-open relationship. The agreement may involve limited phone calls, emails and texts after placement of the baby. There may also be meetings before the birth. Birth and adoptive parents typically know one another’s first names. The plan is made based on the needs and wants of the birth parents.
This adoption option has the advantage of maintaining privacy, while also allowing birth mothers to be reassured about the well-being of their child.
How a Semi-Open Adoption Works
In a Semi-open adoption most or all communication is facilitated through an adoption agency to preserve privacy by withholding identifying information. Prospective birth mothers and adoptive parents can still meet and communicate, but it will look a bit different than in an open adoption. For instance, adoption agencies may mediate a conference call with both parties calling into the agency to speak to each other, this way phone numbers are not exchanged. For ongoing communication the adoptive family would send pictures and letters to the adoption agency, who will then forward it to the birth parent’s address.