Open adoption is a term that may sound contradictory at first. Yet many birth parents choose open adoption as a way to remain part of their child’s life. A general definition of open adoption is when an adoptive family maintains contact with the birth family of their adopted child. There are many reasons why birth parents choose open adoption and because of those many reasons, open adoption does not have one standard definition.
As a birth parent, you decide the level of openness that is most comfortable to you when you are creating your adoption plan with your pregnancy counselor. As the adoptive parent, you too must be comfortable with the type of adoption- open, semi-open or closed, that was decided by the birth parent in the adoption plan for your baby. There is no “right” or “wrong” choice when it comes to deciding what type of communication is best for you. As a birth parent working with Barker’s pregnancy counselors, it is always your choice. Along with the right to select the adoptive family and even meet them if you desire to.
According to Child Welfare Information Gateway, open adoptions are becoming more common. In 2008, 68% of children adopted domestically through private adoptions had post-adoption contact with their birth families. Prospective adoptive families value the relationship maintained with birth parents. At a minimum, it could be a way to have access to important medical history or creates the space to foster a meaningful relationship.
At Barker, our adoptive families are not only trained on the concepts of open adoption but also desire to have the opportunity to maintain a relationship with the birth parents that choose them. Our adoptive families understand that maintaining a relationship with the birth family allows their adopted child to grow into managing the relationship on their own over time.
Levels of Openness
Open – You have direct contact with the adoptive family and your child.
Semi- Open – You and adoptive parents share updates and communicate through your agency social worker.
Closed- No communication
Types of Open Communication
o E-Mail Updates
o Phone Contact
o In- Person Visits
Benefits of Open Adoption
o Opportunity to select and meet the adoptive parents
o Opportunity to maintain a relationship with your child
o Assurance that your child is being loved and cared for
o Your child grows up knowing they are adopted and has contact with their birth family
o Birthparents and Adoptive Parents can work together to determine the arrangements of their open relationship (i.e. How often to meet? How often to receive updates?)
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