How to Have a Successful Semi-Open Adoption
When choosing adoption, you may find yourself worried about whether communication with the adoptive family is right for you. You may find a closed adoption is too restrictive, but an open adoption is too lenient. The decisiveness and privacy of a closed adoption may appeal to you, but not the finality. You may believe an open adoption would be too confusing for yourself and your child and too limiting of your own closure.
If an open or closed adoption doesn’t sound right for you, there is another option. That’s the semi-open adoption. At Adoption Choices of New York, we can help show you how to have a successful semi-open adoption.
What is Semi-Open Adoption?
A semi-open adoption is an arrangement that maintains the privacy of the birth mother and the adoptive family. You may still interact with the adoptive family, but through a mediator. Your mediator, in turn, will ensure that all personal and identifying information is protected. Our agency uses a secure and confidential online resource called ChildConnect to do this. Through this portal, both birth and adoptive parents are able to exchange letters, cards and photos safely.
Before choosing semi-open adoption, you should know whether it is right for you. If you are the type of person who desires updates and a sense of security but needs to establish clear boundaries in order to cope with the adoption process, then semi-open adoption may be a great way to meet yourself in the middle. Before you know how to have a successful semi-open adoption, you should decide if this kind of contact will meet your needs.
Meeting Your Adoption Needs and Desires
In a successful semi-open adoption, you’ll have a sense of control over your situation. You’ll be able to review, interview and select the adoptive parents for your child. In order to be successful, you should know that this sense of control can aid you in the adoption process. By knowing what you want and need from your adoption plan, you can increase your chances of feeling happy with it.
It’s important to consider your own needs. It may help to write down a list of things you expect from a semi-open adoption. What kind of communication do you want? How often? For example, would you like to receive photos three times a year? Would you like to send letters? It’s helpful to have these things written down in paper before your child is born both so you can organize your thoughts and so you can create an agreement with the adoptive family of your choice.
Know that whatever pattern for communication you set up can be altered later on. However, having security in how communication will begin, who will initiate it and how often you will communicate can ease both your and the adoptive family’s anxiety about the adoption process.
This choice may help you cope through the adoption process as well. Knowing that you will receive updates about your child may help you feel secure in your decision after your child’s birth. The lack of uncertainty in your child’s well-being can aid your own mental health going forward.
Benefits to Adoptive Family
In a semi-open adoption, you will communicate with the adoptive family from time to time based on your needs. In order to communicate with them effectively, it may be helpful to know how a semi-open adoption benefits the adoptive family as well.
Health Information – can be an option later in the adoption journey. This can be discussed further with your adoption caseworker, but giving the adoptive parents the opportunity to have your child’s health information offers them more details when it comes to taking care of your child. It helps guide them as your child grows up, so you are permitted to exchange health and medical information if you are comfortable to do so. If the adoptive family requests medical information, our agency or an adoption attorney can pass that information along for you.
Reducing Anxiety – can be comforting to the adoptive family to feel connected to you in a sense. The ability to communicate with you using a mediator helps reduce any qualms the adoptive family might have.
Parental Roles – are clearly defined for your child. A semi-open adoption establishes boundaries for both parties.
What Defines a Successful Semi-Open Adoption?
- The child does not feel a need to seek out birth parents
- Clearly defined parental roles
- Identities of all parties kept confidential as needed
- Your child does not feel abandoned — boundaries are set and a sense of caring is established
- Birth parents have closure: you know you child is safe and updates can be comforting when experiencing grief or loss after the adoption
When you boil it down, knowing how to have a successful semi-open adoption is simple. As long as it accomplishes everything it is supposed to by the rules that are set, it is successful. If you and the adoptive family are happy with the boundaries you’ve created and you feel secure in the type of communication you receive, you have a successful semi-open adoption.
If you’re worried about deciding to have contact or not with your child’s adoptive family, we hope semi-open adoption is a choice that will work for you. By having some contact with the family, but protecting your privacy and emotions, semi-open adoption can be a great choice to meet yourself in the middle. The security of knowing how your child is doing can make all the difference, and we at Adoption Choices of New York are here to support you as you define your adoption journey.
Meet the Author: Tara Giuffre has always loved reading and writing and grew up in the worlds of Narnia, Harry Potter and A Series of Unfortunate Events. Taking this passion for stories, she received a degree from Rutgers University in Journalism & Media. Besides writing, she likes long walks on the beach, spending time with her family (and her cat, Sansa), and baking the perfect loaf of bread.
During her internship with Adoption Choices, she is looking forward to sharing vital information about adoption to families making important choices.