Adoption can be a beautiful experience for both biological and adoptive parents. There are positive experiences, along with hardships as well. As a birth mother, deciding to place your baby with an adoptive family can be one of the toughest decisions you will ever make. The good news is, through this tough decision, you have the freedom to decide what kind of relationship you will have moving forward. There are three different types of adoption to consider: closed, semi-open, and open.
At Adoption Choices of Oklahoma, we understand that every birth mother has their own reasons behind making the hard decision of adoption. Each level of openness suits different styles of life and comfort. Semi-open adoption, in particular, has a unique place within the types of adoption. We want to give you information about the benefits and drawbacks of semi-open adoption for birth mothers like you.
Also referred to as “mediated adoption,” semi-open adoption allows you some contact with your child: minimal or on a larger scale, depending on what you are comfortable with. This term “mediated” is used because you have someone directing the conversations and contact between you, the adoptive family and your child.
When you start your adoption journey with us, we will place you with an adoption specialist who will guide you through your journey. An adoption specialist will walk you through the process of choosing a family for your child and then begin to mediate. Depending on the adoption agreement you have decided on with your child’s adoptive family, communication can happen in several different ways including: phone calls, emails, letters and other forms of exchanging information. Choosing semi-open adoption can have a lot of benefits for you as a birth mother. However, there are also drawbacks. Let’s discuss what both look like.
Benefits of Semi-Open Adoption for Birth Mothers
1. Initial Forms of Contact
The first benefit of semi-open or “mediated” adoption is the form of contact that you will have with the family. Early contact will provide you with the opportunity to be in each other’s lives before your baby is even born. With early contact, you can gauge how the relationship is progressing before, during and after the birth. Before your baby is born, you may have information you are comfortable with exchanged with the birth family. A face-to-face meeting may also be able to be arranged, which allows you to have a clear idea of who will be the parents to your baby. Having contact with the parents at an early stage may guide your decisions for your birth plan. One of these decisions may include the adoptive family’s presence during the birthing experience. Semi-open adoption protects your right to have an amount of contact you are comfortable with.
In addition to forms of contact, semi-open adoption for birth mothers is great because it protects your privacy. Being a part of your child’s life can be a positive experience. However, you are allowed to make the decision as to to what degree that involvement looks like. Any information that you are uncomfortable sharing will not be shared, and the privacy of the family will also be protected. This allows you to keep a positive relationship without oversharing areas that you don’t feel are necessary. Your mediator will be able to help monitor the information shared between both parties, and he or she will prioritize that your desires and expectations for the relationship are met.
Placing your child with an adoptive family can be one of the hardest decisions of your life. The unknown can be haunting and scary. With a semi-open adoption, that decision can be less scary. You have the ability to connect and stay connected with the adoptive family and your baby. You still get to watch your child grow up! The adoptive family can share pictures, milestones, and the growth that your child undergoes. Further in the future, your child will be able to connect with you his or herself.
Another important benefit is the contact you’ll share once the adoption has been finalized. Essential paperwork has the potential to be lost along the way. Important information like medical history and knowing and understanding a genetic family tree are not always available to adoptees. With semi-open adoption, this knowledge is easily accessible when needed. You also have the option to expand the contact and relationship you have with your child later on.
Drawbacks of Semi-Open Adoption for Birth Mothers
1. Relationship Loss and Grief
Placing a baby for adoption is an emotional roller coaster. It’s natural to feel grief and loss throughout your adoption journey. Semi-open adoption for birth mothers can increase these feelings. The continued contact can be an ever-present reminder, which causes you to feel confused or makes you second guess if you made the right decision. Again, all of this is not uncommon; rather, it is part of the grieving process. Your adoption specialist is there to help guide you through these feelings.
2. Contact Complications
Jobs come and go and an adoption specialist’s position is included in that. A drawback for birth mothers and adoptive families is the transfer of their cases to a different mediator’s hands. This can lead to miscommunication and, sometimes, a loss of contact between the birth mother and adoptive family for a while. Having to go through another person for communication adds to the risk of loss of contact.
Semi-Open Adoption as an Option
While there are benefits and drawbacks of semi-open adoption, you do not need to be afraid. Adoption Choices of Oklahoma wants to help you make the right choice for you and the relationship you have with your child. Prolonging that relationship and strengthening it throughout your life can benefit both you and your child. We want to encourage you with a reminder that this is ultimately your choice. You do not need to be pressured into anything you are uncomfortable with. If semi-open adoption is something you are interested in considering, contact us for more information.
Adoption Choices of Oklahoma
Adoption Choices of Oklahoma is a private adoption agency, licensed by the state of Oklahoma and leader in the adoption community. We have been assisting birth parents, children, and adoptive families in Oklahoma for over 19 years. Our staff members are committed to providing an ethical, empowering, and personalized adoption experience to all involved in the adoption process. If you are currently in the process of adopting a baby and have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact us. You may visit our website here or call 405-794-7500 (Oklahoma City) or 918-982-6220 (Tulsa).
Support Adoption Choices
Adoption Choices, Inc. is partnering with Crowdrise, a fundraising website for nonprofits, to help our adoptive parents and birth parents with much needed financial assistance. We understand that expenses keep clients from fulfilling their dreams. Both with birth parents making a plan for adoption, and with adoptive parents growing their family. It is our mission to provide financial assistance through grants and scholarships, awarded annually in November, in honor of National Adoption Month. Funds assist adoptive parents with matching and placements, adoption finalization and helping birth mothers improve their lives through higher education — and much more.
However, we can’t do it alone. Please read up on our programs and donate money where you are able. Your donation will make a huge impact.
About the Author
Jadzia Miller is currently in the final stretches of pursuing an English degree at Colorado Christian University. She has lived in the beautiful state of Colorado for the 22 years she has been on this earth, and loves exploring the beauty that is constantly surrounding her.
She aspires to pursue a career in publishing or library science; either way, Jadzia wants to be encompassed by books and stories. Living near Denver, she is surrounded by artistic pursuits and wants to continue exploring these as often as possible. Jadzia has a passion for encouraging people to read and finding joy in reading books.
Rosenhaus, Nancy. “Semi-Open Adoption.” Adoptions With Love, 22 Aug. 2019, adoptionswithlove.org/birth-parents/semi-open-adoption.
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“Semi-Open Adoption: Advantages and Benefits.” American Pregnancy Association, 21 Oct. 2019, americanpregnancy.org/adoption/semi-open-advantages/.
“Semi-Open/Mediated Adoption – The Best of Both Worlds.” Considering Adoption, consideringadoption.com/adopting/open-adoption/mediated-adoption-the-best-of-both-worlds.