Your Relationship with the Adoptive Family
Open vs. Closed Adoption [How to Decide]
An important consideration for your adoption plan is whether you plan to have an open or closed adoption. What’s the difference between an open and closed adoption? What are the long-term effects of a closed adoption vs. an open adoption? There are very distinct differences between the two. Deciding which one is right for you requires some thought and consideration knowing the pros and cons of each.
This article is here to help. Below, learn more about open vs. closed adoption so you can make the best decision for your adoption plan. You can also get free information and support now when you contact us here. We’ll connect you with a licensed adoption professional who can answer all of your questions about the difference between open and closed adoption.
In today’s adoptions, more birth parents and adoptive families are choosing to have a sustained relationship post-placement. The advent of social media and the ability to share experiences through pictures and video has made maintaining a connection much easier. An open adoption means that the birth parents and the adoptive family agree to keep the lines of communication open, ranging from telephone calls to video chats, text messaging and in-person visits.
This type of arrangement is typically handled by the birth parents and adoptive families without mediation from a third party, such as your adoption agency or adoption social worker. The frequency and types of communication you use with the adoptive family and child can change and adjust as time goes on.
There are many benefits of an open adoption vs. a closed adoption. Here are few to review:
- Develop a relationship – An open adoption allows you to develop and maintain a relationship with the adoptive family as well as your child
- Play a role – Having an open adoption means you can interview and select the family adopting your child. You can also play an important role in your child’s life as he or she grows up; many adoptive families and birth parents come to think of each other as extended family members
- Remove fear – When you have an open adoption and a connection to your child through the adoptive family, the fear of not knowing any information about your child is removed
- Stability for the child – By keeping a connection with your child, he or she is less likely to develop self-esteem issues and won’t have to wonder where they came from
- Access to medical history – It can be highly important for the adoptive family and your child to have access to the biological parents’ medical history
The biggest difference between closed and open adoption is that open adoption allows you to maintain a meaningful relationship with your child after placement. There are many benefits of having this type of relationship, which is why most birth parents today choose an open adoption vs. closed.
However, there is a potential downside to an open adoption. Some birth parents could struggle with having a relationship with their child and the adoptive family. The relationship can also change over the course of time as everyone’s needs, expectations and circumstances change. There are currently 26 states that offer some type of legal agreement for contact and communication, but in most cases, it is up to the birth parents and adoptive family to follow through on the agreement and work through any conflicts on their own.
It’s also possible that only having a limited connection to the child makes coping with the adoption and mourning the loss of the child from your daily life much more difficult emotionally. If you worry that an ongoing relationship would make it difficult for you to find closure, you may be leaning more toward a closed vs. open adoption.
A closed adoption is essentially the exact opposite arrangement. The purpose of having a closed adoption is to maintain privacy and anonymity between the birth parents and adoptive family. With no access to identifiable information, birth parents can place their child for adoption and move forward without contact or confrontation.
Here are some reasons why you might consider a closed adoption:
- Closure – Some birth parents may need complete privacy and removal from the child’s life in order to have closure of the adoption
- Privacy – Not only does a closed adoption keep birth parents private from the adoptive family, but makes it easier to not have to explain anything to others in their life
- Reduce fear and anxiety – In some cases, fear and anxiety can stem from watching the growth and development of a child from a distance. Birth parents may find that complete privacy and detachment reduces this
While some birth parents may find the full privacy in a closed adoption easier, there are some drawbacks. It may feel as though moving forward after an adoption without any connection to the child or adoptive family helps with coping and mourning, but it can have the adverse effect for many birth parents. Birth parents who choose a closed adoption vs. open adoption often wonder even more how the child is doing and what they look like, and they never hear updates on their first words, steps and more.
Knowing whether to choose an open or closed adoption can be difficult, but the decision is entirely up to you. If a connection with your child and the adoptive family is important, you can speak with available hopeful families that also want that connection with you. You can choose which family you want to adopt your child and the environment they’ll grow up in. Conversely, a closed adoption gives you the chance to complete your adoption privately and limit the identifiable information you share, potentially making it easier to move forward post-placement.
Your adoption agency can help you decide which path to take by providing you with all the important information you need to better understand the pros and cons of open and closed adoptions. To get connected with an agency today, contact us here.
Ready to get started? Contact an adoption agency now to get free information.