When you’re a pregnant woman considering adoption for your baby, one of the decisions you’ll need to make is what kind of communication you want to share with the family who eventually adopts your baby. Each adoption is unique, and you’ll get to decide what level of communication you’re comfortable having, but this decision usually comes down to two basic options: open vs. closed adoption.
Birth mother Stephanie chose Josh and Chris to adopt sweet baby James.
While you always have a choice of which adoption communication is best for you, it’s no mystery that 95 percent of birth mothers today choose a form of open adoption when they’re confronted with this decision. Although closed adoptions were the norm up until the last few decades of the 1900s, the benefits of open adoption for all involved have convinced birth mothers, adoptive parents and adoption professionals alike what the best choice is for modern adoptions.
But what exactly are the differences between open adoption vs. closed adoption in North Carolina, and why should you, as a birth mother, choose one over the other? Our adoption counselors can always discuss open vs. closed adoption with you at any time for free, but here are some of the basic facts you should know about each type of adoption.
The Truth About Closed Adoption
Many prospective birth mothers who don’t know about the realities of modern adoption automatically assume that a closed adoption is the best choice for them. Some of them don’t even know that communication with their baby’s adoptive family is even an option, and some believe that a “clean break” is the best way to move on from this difficult decision in their life.
For many birth mothers, however, a closed adoption does not provide the healthy healing process they think it will — and it may even make their adoption process more difficult. Unlike birth mothers who choose an open adoption, birth mothers who choose a closed adoption will never know who their child grew up to be, and this question can plague them for the rest of their life.
But closed adoptions don’t only impact birth mothers; they can also make the future for your baby and their adoptive family difficult, as well. For example, choosing a closed adoption means your baby’s family will receive limited information about you, including limited medical information. If your child were to develop a certain medical condition later in life, there will be no family medical history to fall back on — which can be life-threatening in certain cases. In addition, your child will always have questions about you that cannot be answered. Being an adoptee is an important part of someone’s personal identity, and this lack of information about their birth parents may shape their personal development.
A closed adoption does provide privacy and anonymity that many birth mothers prefer, but before choosing closed adoption, it’s important to consider that your identifying information can also be protected in a semi-open adoption. In fact, it’s not uncommon for prospective birth mothers to approach A Child’s Hope desiring a closed adoption, only to open up their communication preferences as they begin to understand the true benefits of a semi-open or open adoption.
The Truth About Open Adoption
When you’re deciding between open vs. closed adoption in North Carolina, you may be wary of an adoptive family knowing your name during the adoption process. Therefore, you might think a closed adoption is best to protect your privacy.
However, as mentioned above, you can still protect your identifying information in an open adoption — specifically, a semi-open adoption. When it comes to contact with your baby’s adoptive family before, during and after the adoption process, you never have to communicate in a way that’s uncomfortable for you. Your adoption counselor will make sure you find an adoptive family who matches your communication preferences and will mediate your contact to protect your identifying information.
In addition to the ability to protect your privacy, an open adoption also provides many benefits for all involved:
- For you, the birth mother: You will be able to see your baby grow up through photos and letters and, if you’re comfortable, phone calls and even in-person meetings. You can also create a lifelong relationship with your child’s birth parents (many birth mothers find themselves developing a true friendship with the adoptive parents). Instead of wondering whether you did the right thing, you can receive that affirmation by watching your child grow up happy and healthy.
- For adoptive parents: Adoptive parents respect and love their child’s birth mother for her decision, and cultivating a positive relationship with her is just one way they can show this appreciation. They will also have access to your child’s medical records and family history, which can be instrumental should your child ever get sick or have questions about his or her adoption.
- For your child: Adoptees have many questions about their identity and their adoption story as they grow up. An open adoption allows them to get accurate answers to these questions (if not directly from you, from their parents through your communication with them). Communication with their birth mother provides them (and you) a peace of mind that the adoption was the best choice for all involved.
These are just some of the reasons that the vast majority of the prospective birth mothers who work with A Child’s Hope choose a level of open adoption. Remember, your open adoption communication is what you’re comfortable with and what you make of it; you will never be forced into a situation you’re not ready for.
We know that deciding between open adoption vs. closed adoption is a very personal decision to make, but our counselors are always available to answer any questions you may have and help you make the right choice for you and your baby. You can contact us today for free and with no obligation to choose adoption by calling our Pregnancy Hotline: (919) 971-4396, or Text: Pregnant to (919) 971-4396, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Adoption Counselor/Homestudy Supervisor - Triangle
As an adoptive parent I truly have a passion for adoption. There is no greater joy than helping to create a family! I love this job and I love working with adoptive parents as well as the birth parents. When it all comes together it is an awesome experience! Kelly is a graduate of NC State University where she earned a Bachelor of Social Work. She also received her Master of Social Work from the University of South Carolina. Kelly has been working with children, families, in the home and in communities for 18 years. Kelly has been working with birth mothers and adoptive parents for the last 5 years. Besides working, she has a great husband and three fabulous children, Landon, Parker and Ansley. Kelly and her husband adopted their daughter with the help of ACH and feels as though her personal experience helps her relate to other adoptive families.
Sloane completed her undergraduate degree in Human Services Counseling at Old Dominion University and holds a Master's Degree in Social Work from the University of Southern California. Sloane has been working with children, birth mothers and adopting families for more than 10 years. She loves advocating for children and helping women during pregnancy.
Lakisha completed her undergraduate degree in Sociology with a concentration in Social Welfare at Winston-Salem State University. She received her Master of Social Work from Syracuse University. Lakisha has worked with children, individuals and families for more than 12 years. Her experience includes working with at-risk youth, homeless children and families, child mental health, as well as school social work and case management. She is also a long-time basketball fan, a former player and coach. She played at Winston-Salem State University and coached women’s basketball at Elon University and Syracuse University. Lakisha and her husband reside in Alamance County, with their young son.
Jess completed her undergraduate degree in Communication at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown and earned her Master of Arts degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Messiah College. Her professional experience includes case management, education, women’s behavioral health including a focus on pregnant mothers, and working with kinship and domestic adoptive families who have experienced trauma. Jess is a native of central Pennsylvania though loves living in Asheville with her significant other. When she is not working, she is likely caring for her puppy and dog, painting, practicing yoga, camping or planning her next road trip to see family and friends or have an adventure in some new place!
Sylvia is a graduate of Western Carolina University, where she earned a Bachelor of Social Work. She also received her Master of Social Work from the University of North Carolina. Sylvia has been working with children and families for more than 19 years. She enjoys gardening, reading, hiking, and spending time with her husband and three boys. She also loves animals, especially her dog Jazzy.
Nicole completed her undergraduate studies at Chowan University in Psychology with a concentration in Alcohol & Drug Studies and a minor in Criminal Justice. Nicole has provided services to adolescents, teens, college students, the Department of Corrections, the Department of Parole and Probation, the NC Division of Motor Vehicles, the Division of Transportation, and the Department of Defense. She is a Certified Alcohol & Drug Counselor and has been working in the mental health field for 15 years.
Suzanne was the primary pregnancy care manager stationed at Duke high-risk perinatal clinic for 20 years. She has a BS in Social Work at UNC Pembroke and is a licensed School Social Worker. She recently worked as a case manager in a substance abuse disorder residential program for women with young children. Suzanne is a “Durhamite” but has resided in Wake County since graduating. Her biggest accomplishment has been happily raising her 14 yo daughter and 3 poodle mixed pups.