The second after you’ve announced your plans to adopt, friends and family will undoubtedly want to know what type of adoption you want. In the adoption world, there are three different options to choose from: closed, semi-open, or open. Each category offers its own set of pros and cons, but exist to meet any and all requirements both the adoptive parents and birth parents have for how the adoption process and beyond should proceed.
When you are considering adoption, it’s important to thoroughly research all three types of adoption to get the whole picture. There is no right or wrong way to go about this, just as there is nothing wrong with choosing one over the other. All that matters is determining which path best suits you and your family plan.
Nowadays, closed adoption is the least favorable form of adoption, and isn’t seen as beneficial to any of the members of the adoption triad. Put simply, a birth mother places her child for adoption without having any contact whatsoever with either the child or adoptive family. All identities are supposedly kept confidential before, during and after the adoption process. Despite that, however, closed adoptions are still available if that’s what both the adoptive and birth parents want.
Because of the confidential aspect of this type of adoption, you’ll want to carefully consider what is best for you and your family. Would having no communication with your child’s birth mother be ok, or would you want to know more about her? What about your child, and they ask about their adoption story growing up? This overall lack of contact can be seen as both an advantage and disadvantage. Maintaining complete privacy is important to many adoptive parents, and the idea of sharing their child raises concerns. Unfortunately, with the accessibility of social media and adoptive parents receiving the birth parent’s last name at the hospital, closed adoption now has loopholes it didn’t before. Total privacy can no longer be guaranteed.
Another aspect to keep in mind is that closed adoptions do not allow adoptive parents to have their son or daughter’s health or medical information. Instead, it is sealed along with the Original Birth Certificate, until the child becomes a legal adult. Not having this pertinent information can put your child at a greater risk of identity and self-esteem issues growing up.
Comfortable with some form of contact, but not wanting anything beyond that? Think about semi-open adoption. This type of adoption is also known as “mediated adoption,” because all communication filters via your adoption specialist. Conference calls are permitted through your chosen adoption agency before the adoption, as are personal visits as long as a social worker is present. After the adoption, both adoptive and birth parents are permitted to exchange updates through emails, pictures and letters. Your adoption specialist reviews everything she receives, and ensures that any and all identifying information is removed before sharing it to the other party.
At our office, we see a large number of birth parents avidly requesting this as a desirable adoption agreement, because they want some form of communication with the adoptive family. However, at the same time, they are wary of having too much. Semi-open adoption provides a happy medium for them. They are able to learn about how their child is doing and get reassurance that you are loving adoptive parents, all the while from a reasonable distance.
Along those same lines, adoptive parents find comfort within the boundaries of semi-open adoptions as well. Knowing just enough without having to disclose any personal information provides a sense of peace. If both birth parents and adoptive parents want more communication once they get to know each other, this can be facilitated through Child Connect. Semi-open adoptions are also beneficial for your child, as it gives him or her the opportunity to learn from their birth parents if they want to.
Over the past few years, this third and final type of adoption has become more and more popular. It has been seen as the most beneficial for all the parties involved — the birth parents, the adoptive parents, and the adoptee. Most importantly, it puts the adoptee first and keeps their best interests at heart the whole way through. Open adoption is the form that Adoption Choices of Oklahoma encourages the most for adoptive and birth parents who want to have a lasting, healthy relationship with each other.
Birth parents and adoptees are able to establish a relationship together in open adoptions as well. It allows them to meet their birth parents as they grow up and ask questions about their adoption story. In doing so, the adoptee is able to learn the whys and hows of their birth parents’ decision to place them for adoption, eliminating any doubts or tendency to struggle with identity or self-esteem. Open adoptions allow adoptive parents access to their child’s medical and health history, which provides insight into any potential genetic or mental health issues down the line.
When selecting an open adoption, it’s important to know that you hold all the legal parental rights of your child. A common misconception about open adoptions is that they equal co-parenting. But this is not the case. Rather, both adoptive and birth parents must communicate and establish clear boundaries during the adoption process in order to succeed long term. Having this mutual respect for each other is sure to develop strong and lifelong bonds between all parties, and have a positive impact on your child.
What Type of Adoption is Best for Me?
Determining what type of adoption best suits you and your family isn’t a small task. There are many pros and cons to consider, along with your emotional state. It’s also impossible to know how you may or may not be feeling years down the road. Maybe right now the idea of a closed adoption sounds the right path for you, but then after the adoption you regret not choosing open. Or maybe it’s the opposite. You thought contact with the birth parents sounded like the best plan, but then afterwards wished you had more privacy. What if you’re in between? You want contact with the birth family, and later decide you want more than what semi-open allows.
Here’s a little secret. Unless you are absolutely confident in your choice, choose open. It’s easier to pair down than open things up post adoption.
Overall, though, always remember that there is no right or wrong way to adopt. Be sure to lay out all of your concerns, worries and questions with your adoption specialist. She will be your guiding light, and help you choose what type of adoption you want moving forward.
Adoption Choices of Oklahoma
If you are currently in the process of adopting a baby and have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact, Adoption Choices of Oklahoma. 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
Rachel Robertson is a published journalist, book editor, certified Publishing Specialist, and aspiring novelist. She graduated from Central Washington University (CWU) in March 2011, having found her writing voice within the Creative Nonfiction genre and grew to work as a freelance book editor for small presses all across the United States.
In June 2018, she embarked on an internship with Virginia Frank and came on board with Adoption Choices Inc., Not for Profit 501(c)(3), in December 2018. Between her mutual passion with adoption and surrogacy, and her own personal history with adoption, Rachel is excited to research and share topics each week that will spread awareness and better serve the faithful patrons of Adoption Choices Inc.
When Rachel isn’t haunting her local Starbucks or Barnes and Noble, she’s avidly pouring over her Writer’s Digest subscription or cozying up with a cup of tea and a book. She currently resides in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her beloved wife and Border Collie.
“Closed Adoption.” Considering Adoption, adoption-for-my-baby.com/preparing-for/your-adoption-relationship/closed-adoption/.
“Differences between Closed, Semi-Open, and Open Adoptions.” Differences between Closed, Semi-Open, and Open Adoptions, 2019, www.onetruegift.com/article/open-closed-adoption/.
“Open Adoption – The Beginning of a Beautiful Relationship.” Considering Adoption, consideringadoption.com/adopting/open-adoption/open-adoption-how-it-works.
“Semi-Open/Mediated Adoption – The Best of Both Worlds.” Considering Adoption, consideringadoption.com/adopting/open-adoption/mediated-adoption-the-best-of-both-worlds.