Your Relationship with the Adoptive Family
Open Adoption Pros & Cons [The Complete Guide]
Adoption can be the most amazing thing you ever do. It can also be one of the most challenging.
Without a doubt, choosing adoption is a brave, difficult and emotional journey. But the promise to have an open adoption and open line of communication with the adoptive parents and your child can make this decision much easier to be at peace with.
Whether you choose an open or semi-open adoption, receiving updates from the adoptive parents can give you confidence in knowing your child is growing up in a safe and loving environment. in this article, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of open adoption and how such an arrangement impacts your post-adoption life.
The Benefits of Open Adoption
Anymore, it’s uncommon for birth parents to choose a closed adoption. The lack of communication with and information about the adoptive family can make the emotions of adoption much more difficult to cope with. It can also potentially create identity issues for the child as they get older.
An open adoption, on the other hand, creates an environment of love and support for everyone in the adoption triad. From the birth parents’ perspective, being able to receive updates via phone calls, pictures, social media and potentially in-person visits keeps the connection to the child alive and keeps you engaged in their growth and development.
These are some of the pros of choosing an open adoption:
- Know your child is thriving – Most women choose open adoption so they can stay informed about their child’s upbringing and know that he or she is safe. Whether these updates come in the form of pictures, emails, phone calls or even visits, they are important in giving you the peace of mind that your child is thriving because of your decision.
- Get to know your child – One of the biggest open adoption benefits is the ability to see the amazing things your child will grow up to be. Developing a relationship with your child is very possible, should you choose open adoption. Be sure that you make your intentions clear to your adoption professional so they can help you find an adoptive family who is also seeking a similar open relationship.
- Avoid identity issues – Prior to modern-day open adoptions, adopted children often didn’t know they were adopted until much later in life. This caused an emptiness and a feeling of abandonment in many of these adoptees. Fortunately, open adoption allows these kids to know their adoption stories from an early age, so when they grow up, it is a normal part of their lives.
- Build a relationship with the adoptive family – One of the most important benefits to an open adoption is the ability to build a strong relationship with the adoptive parents. With your child’s health and safety in their hands, a good relationship with the adoptive parents can ensure you stay up to date on important events and milestones in your child’s life.
- Access to medical history – With an open adoption, your child and the adoptive parents will be able to access your medical history and records as it pertains to the health and wellness of your child.
When it comes to the level of contact you’ll have with the adoptive family, it is up to you and the adoptive parents to decide what types of communication will be used and how often you’ll be in contact. In most cases, an open adoption is an ever-evolving relationship that can change over time.
You may start out with somewhat limited communication, but as time passes and your comfort level increases, the amount of communication may increase. Conversely, one or both of you may decide the communication is too frequent or intrusive. How much contact you wish to have is entirely up to you and can be determined with your adoption professional as you develop your adoption plan.
The Cons of Open Adoption
While an open adoption offers a number of advantages and benefits during and after an adoption, there are some potential disadvantages of open adoption to consider, as well. That level of contact and communication with the adoptive family and child can make coping with the emotions and mourning the adoption much more difficult for some.
The cons of an open adoption really come down to whether or not you want to remain a part of your baby’s life by developing a relationship with the adoptive parents, as well as whether or not you want to keep your adoption to decision private.
Some of the cons of an open adoption can include:
- Breaking the communication agreement – In most cases, when you and the adoptive parents agree to a certain level of communication after the adoption, your adoption professional will no longer serve as a mediator of contact between the two parties. While the vast majority of adoptive and birth parents follow through on their promises and are eager to maintain this relationship, there are some unfortunate stories of an adoptive family going back on their word and limiting communication or withholding certain aspects of the child’s life which they originally agreed to share with the birth parents. This is very rare, as most adoptive parents recognize the benefits of open adoption and want to do what is best for the birth parents and their child. You can avoid these types of open adoption problems by choosing a family that is open and honest with you and working with an adoption agency that stresses the importance of open adoption to all of its adoptive families.
- Disappointment in the adoptive family – Although you will have the chance to speak with and get to know the adoptive family during the adoption process, you may find that as the relationship grows, you begin to dislike certain aspects of their personalities, lifestyle or behavior. Of course, everyone has flaws — including the people we love most. Usually, it is worth putting those differences aside for the benefit of your child, but some birth parents find that they prefer to limit their contact with the adoptive family because of these differences.
- Emotional struggles – For some, ongoing connection and communication with the adoptive family may have adverse effects. Having access to your child and their growth and development may make it more difficult for some birth parents to obtain a sense of closure after the adoption.
As with any important decision in life, there are open adoption pros and cons to consider. The cons of an open adoption are real and require some thought. However, an open adoption creates an environment that most birth parents truly enjoy after they’ve placed their child for adoption, allowing them to build lifelong relationships with not only the child, but the adoptive parents. The ability to get photos, talk on the phone, share milestones and experience in-person connections make an open adoption very special.
Are you ready to begin your open adoption journey? Still trying to decide whether open adoption is the right choice for you? Get free information and advice from a trained specialist now. Contact us any time to be connected with a helpful adoption professional.
Ready to get started? Contact an adoption agency now to get free information.