So what is an “Open Adoption”?

February 12, 2013 in Domestic Adoption by   |  No Comments

You want to adopt! Great! But once you decide you want to adopt you realize that there are several types of adoptions including open adoption, semi-open adoption, and closed-adoption you also realize you have no idea what any of those mean and if you should be scared. For many years it has been debated over whether open adoptions or closed adoptions are the best choice. Many couples new to the adoption process are completely unaware of the differences and the consequences of their decisions for the future of the child and-importantly- their family life.

So what is an “Open Adoption”?

An open adoption is when the birth parents and adoptive parents meet for the sake of creating a relationship before, during and after the adoption process. They may stay in touch after the baby is born through phone calls, email, written letters, or even occasional visits if both the adoptive and biological parents are comfortable with this. Skype and facebook are common means of communication for both sets of parents.

Research suggests that open adoption is best because the birth and adoptive parents are known to the child and involved in the child’s life. This means the child grows up knowing who his biological parents are, why they relinquished him but also know that their adoptive parents aren’t hiding anything. Researchers have studied the benefits and drawbacks to all types of adoptions and find open adoption to be best for the child simply because the child does not have to wonder where he came from or why he is in the situation. With open adoption the child will always know his roots and be able to ask any questions in order to clear up any confusion .

Often, biological parents will be available or involved as much as they wish and the adoptive parents allow. The best is for the child and adoptive parents to have an open and honest relationship with the biological parents. The key in any open adoption relationship is to know what to expect and have ground rules for how the relationship will work- will phone calls and emails be ok but no Skype? How about visits? Will they include the adoptive parents or will it simply be the child and birth family? Anything goes- but agreeing beforehand is key.

Historically, adoptive parents chose a closed adoption for fear of one day losing the child to his or her birth parents. The fear that the birthparents want to come back and take the child are just fears- adoptions are final once the papers go through the court. What is established, however, is a safe and deep bond that is both healthy and rewarding.

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