Each adoption is as unique as the families involved. Even so, when adopting a baby, it will fit into one of three basic categories: open, semi-open, or closed adoptions.
Whether you’re the biological parents or the adoptive parents, it’s important to carefully consider the differences between the three and decide what kind of adoption you want to have. That way, you can be matched with someone who feels the same way.
Though this option isn’t as common as it used to be, there are still biological parents and adoptive parents who prefer, for various reasons, to maintain a closed adoption. This is where there is no contact between families before, during, or after the adoption; no identifying information is shared. The adoptive parents will receive information about the birth mother’s social and medical history so they can be aware of anything that may affect the child’s health now or in the future.
Some reasons to have a closed adoption include:
- Simplicity:The birth mother may prefer to move on with her life after placing the baby for adoption; adoptive parents might rather not deal with the logistics of maintaining contact and visitation with the biological parents after they adopt a baby.
- Privacy: Perhaps the biological mother hasn’t told some people in her life about the pregnancy; a closed adoption allows her to maintain her privacy in this matter.
Keep in mind that even in a closed adoption, the child may have questions as he/she grows up and could decide to search for her biological parents on her own.
A semi-open adoption offers more flexibility to suit both families. The biological and adoptive parents talk and may even meet before the birth. In general, this type of option shares your first names and where you live. After the adoption, you might exchange emails and photos (via an adoption agency) and keep each other up-to-date on where you’re living and how the child is doing.
These are some advantages of a semi-open adoption:
- Flexibility: You can choose the level of contact that works for both families and allow it to change over time. Maybe that means monthly emails; maybe it means one exchange per year.
- Less Pressure: The birth mother can move on with her life without having to schedule visits or feel obligated to maintain a close relationship, but still has the opportunity to find out how the child is doing. Adoptive parents can keep her up-to-date without feeling that there are three or four parents involved in the child’s life. By working through the agency rather than directly with each other, both families maintain a measure of privacy.
- Availability: The adoptive parents know how to contact the birth mother, without added stress or expense, if the child wants to meet her as he gets older.
In this type of adoption, biological and adoptive parents maintain direct contact with each other before, during, and after the adoption. Before the child is born, both families work together to design an arrangement with the child’s best interest in mind. Though this is a beautiful option, it requires careful consideration and planning to ensure everyone is comfortable with the amount of contact and the level of “parenting” each parent will provide.
Here are some reasons people choose an open adoption:
- Connection: The child will never have to wonder about her history or heritage, and she can build a relationship with her birth mother as she grows, rather than trying to make that connection later in life. It also prevents what can be an emotionally draining experience of searching for biological parents.
- A Big, Happy Family: They say it takes a village to raise a child, and having the birth parents in the child’s life allows for extra support. The child has unique access to the truth about the adoption, and knows that both the biological parents and the adoptive parents love him dearly.
There is no right or wrong way to do this; there’s only the way that feels best to you. From there, you’ll be able to find the birth parents or the adoptive parents who share your vision for the adoption. If you have any further questions about open, semi-open, or closed adoptions, please contact us.