What Does Open Adoption Mean?
In adoption, “openness” refers to the amount of contact shared between adoptive parents and prospective birth parents during and after the adoption. An estimated 95 percent of today’s adoptions involve some level of openness.
Because every adoption relationship has its own unique degree of openness, there is no single open adoption definition. However, most in the adoption community define open adoption in one of two ways:
- Fully Open Adoption: In a fully open adoption, birth parents and adoptive families often exchange identifying information, including their last names and personal contact information. Parents may choose an open adoption if they would like to communicate with each other directly through phone calls, social media, and in-person visits.
- Semi-Open Adoption: In a semi-open adoption, birth parents and adoptive families do not exchange identifying information. Instead, their communication is usually mediated by their adoption professional through photos and letters.
While adoptions are becoming increasingly open, most of today’s adoptions fall into the semi-open category. Whatever type of post-adoption relationship you are interested in having, your adoption counselor can help you find a match who wants to have the same relationship with you.
Open Adoption with A Child’s Hope
With A Child’s Hope, the amount and frequency of contact shared between the birth parents and adoptive family is determined by mutual consent. Some birth parents and adoptive families decide they want to receive photographs and letters over time, while a very small percentage choose a closed adoption, discontinuing contact after delivery.
Birth parents and adoptive families who choose open adoption will sign a release of identifying information, agreeing to direct, open communication without the agency’s involvement. From there, it is up to these families to coordinate contact during and after the adoption process, whether that includes phone calls, text messages, video chats, or face-to-face visits.
Those who choose semi-open adoption will meet each other during the adoption process on a first-name basis and communicate through the agency following placement. This communication often includes picture and letter updates, and may even include in-person visits with an adoption counselor present.
It is up to each birth parent and adoptive family to determine what type of adoption relationship they are most comfortable having. As you begin the adoption process with A Child’s Hope, you will learn more about open adoption and post-placement contact, so you can decide which option is right for your family.
Open Adoption Benefits
There are many open adoption facts pointing to the benefits of openness in adoption, as well as heartwarming open adoption stories that demonstrate just how beneficial these relationships can be. A Child’s Hope encourages every adoptive family and prospective birth mother to consider open or semi-open adoption for the following reasons:
- Pre-placement bonding and reassurance: Birth parents and adoptive families who get to know one another before the baby is born often develop close bonds, laying the foundation for a positive post-adoption relationship. This pre-placement contact also helps prospective birth parents feel more comfortable with their adoption decision and their choice of adoptive family.
- Sense of closure: Birth mothers may feel more at peace with their adoption decisions when they know that their child is happy, healthy and thriving. Receiving updates about their child may help them process feelings of grief and loss in a healthy way.
- A more complete adoption story: Adopted children also enjoy a sense of closure in an open or semi-open adoption relationship. Keeping adoptive and birth families in touch ensures that the child’s adoption questions never have to go unanswered, and they can always be reminded of their birth mother’s love for them.
- Health benefits: In open and semi-open adoption, adoptive families always have access to updated family medical information from their child’s birth mother. This benefits everyone in the adoption triad by helping to keep the child safe and healthy in case a medical condition is discovered in his or her birth family.
- Lasting relationships: Over time, many adoptive parents and birth families come to think of each other as extended family. Semi-open and open adoptions allow these families to develop meaningful, lifelong relationships that benefit everyone involved.
Like any relationship, adoption relationships often grow and evolve over time. A Child’s Hope is always available to help you navigate and maintain your open or semi-open adoption relationship through our contact mediation, counseling and support services.
To learn more about semi-open and open adoption with A Child’s Hope, contact our agency today. Our friendly adoption hotline operator can provide additional information with no obligation to proceed with an adoption plan.