What are open and closed adoptions?

A few generations ago, when someone was adopted, information about the birth parents was usually wholly unknown. Adoptions were closed. Today, it’s estimated that only 5 percent of adoptions are closed. “That means that 95 percent of today’s adoptions involve some level of openness, whether they are mediated, fully open, or somewhere in between.”[1] What can prospective parents expect in an open adoption? What does open adoption even mean?

It can be helpful to think of adoptions as being on a spectrum with “closed adoptions” being on one side and completely “open adoptions” being on the other. In the middle is a range of openness that adoption agreements can include, such as:

  •         Exchange of medical and personal histories
  •         Adoptive parents and birth parents getting to know one another pre-birth
  •         Adoptive parents attending the birth of the baby
  •         Allowing the birth mother to spend time with the baby before giving him or her to the adoptive parents
  •         Exchanges of photographs and letters or emails throughout the child’s life
  •         Phone calls or texts
  •         In-person visits

Open Adoptions Can Bring Out Insecurities

Before meeting the birth mother, there can be a lot of fear surrounding the idea of open adoption. Adoptive parents may fear the birth mother changing her mind about the adoption. They may imagine the birth parents wanting to participate in all the decisions surrounding the child’s life.  But, it’s important to understand that open adoption is not co-parenting. You can certainly choose an adoption agency that will promote a level of openness with which you are comfortable.

The Benefits of Open Adoption

One of the reasons that open adoptions are becoming so popular is the evidence that shows how beneficial it is for everyone involved. Birth mothers can move through the grief of giving up their child more easily when the adoption is open. Adoptive parents feel more empathy toward the birth mother, rather than fear and animosity. And children from open adoptions have “higher self-esteem, fewer behavioral problems, more trust for their parents, fewer feelings of alienation, and better overall family functioning.”[2]

No matter where your adoption falls on the spectrum from closed to open, it’s essential to have experienced legal counsel. White & Associates Understands Minnesota family law and adoptions. If you are trying to adopt in Minnesota, contact us today. We can help.

 

[1]  “10 Things That Scientific Research Says about Open Adoption.” American Adoptions Blog, 14 Aug. 2017, www.americanadoptions.com/blog/10-things-that-scientific-research-says-about-open-adoption/.

[2]  “10 Things That Scientific Research Says about Open Adoption.” American Adoptions Blog, 14 Aug. 2017, www.americanadoptions.com/blog/10-things-that-scientific-research-says-about-open-adoption/.