Who likes unanswered questions? Not me!!
Back in the day, adoption was a deep, dark secret. It was treated like something to be ashamed of, a family skeleton. Adoption wasn’t usually a positive experience for the birth mother, and in the stories I remember from way back when, I don’t remember any mention of a birth father.
Thank heavens, all that has changed! Adoption is a great way to build a family, and it’s a way that has been embraced and experienced by some very interesting people. Adoption.Com has a list of hundreds of famous adoptees. Check it out sometime…you may be surprised.
The best thing about adoption today is that the birth mother has choices about the handling of the adoption that weren’t available to her just a few years ago. Gone are the days where the baby is whisked away from the birth mother in the delivery room, never to be seen or heard from again! One of the most important choices is how much she’ll know about the child after he or she is born, which leads us to a brief discussion of the three types of adoption: closed adoption, open adoption, and semi-open adoption.
The most well-known type of adoption is the closed adoption. The birth mother knows nothing (or next to nothing) about the adoptive parents, and the only thing they know about her are a few medical facts. All records are sealed, and it’s next to impossible to get the records unsealed if either the mother or the child wants details later on. Closed adoption is still a choice, but it’s not the only one, and, in many cases, it’s not the best one.
Open and semi-open adoptions are becoming more prevalent. In fact, at A Child’s Hope, we only handle open and semi-open adoptions.
In an open adoption, the birth mother and adoptive parents meet and continue to have a relationship after the adoption is finalized. The terms of that relationship vary according to the wishes of the parties. Open adoption is NOT co-parenting. The adoptive parents are the child’s parents, period. Their child, their rules. But the birth mother is aware of what’s going on in the child’s life. The parties may meet once or twice a year, more if everyone is agreeable, or they may communicate only by telephone or email. Whatever the terms, the birth mother has a choice. The adoptive parents have indicated a willingness to be involved in a relationship with her, and the terms of the relationship are documented in the parenting agreement.
Between the two adoption extremes is the semi-open adoption, which blends open and closed adoptions to present a more conservative choice to birth and adoptive parents, while leaving the door open for contact through the agency. In a semi-open adoption, the adoptive parents send pictures of the child to the agency at predetermined times. Our Agency Coordinator reviews the information to confirm it doesn’t contain any identifying information and then forwards it to the birth mother.
Choices – it’s all about choices!
In my next piece, I’ll talk about the reasons to choose open or semi-open adoption. In the meantime, though, think about it. Do you like unanswered questions?
What is your adoption story? We’d love to hear it! Email your story to firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit us at www.AChildsHope.com, or call our Birth Mother Hotline at 1-877-890-HOPE (4976) so one of our adoption counselors can answer your questions confidentially.