Open Adoption, Semi-Open Adoption, Closed Adoption
Thinking about adoption? Adoption Choices of Missouri is here to help. You may think adoption is adoption, but that isn’t the case. Adoption can take many forms. The three main types of adoption are open adoptions, semi-open adoptions, and closed adoptions. All three are very different in terms of the birth parents’ relationship with the adoptive parents and adoptees so it is important to know which one is right for you. Here is a rundown on the difference between open adoptions, semi-open adoptions, and closed adoptions.
Open adoptions are adoptions where birth parents and adoptive parents share all of their identifying information, meaning that the birth parents and adoptive parents share their first and last names, medical history, and personal contact information. Open adoptions also allow birth parents and adoptive parents to maintain direct contact with each other. This is great for a birth mother who cannot provide for her child but still wants a relationship with him or her. However, open adoptions aren’t the equivalent of co-parenting. The adoptive parents still have legal parenting rights.
Open adoptions can take many forms. It all depends on the boundaries that the birth parents and adoptive parents agree to at the time of the adoption. For example, Amy, the birth mother, and Brenda, the adoptive mother, could agree to the adoption with the agreement that Brenda will allow the adoptee to visit Amy twice a year. Brenda could also agree to send photos and letters about the adoptee directly to Amy on an occasional basis. Amy could also agree to send Brenda updated medical history as she ages. Amy and Brenda could also change the terms of their adoption agreement as time and circumstances change.
If you are unsure about the type of adoption to choose, Adoption Choices recommends open adoptions. Open adoptions allow the adoptee to ask both their adoptive parents and birth parents about their adoption. This allows adoptees to easily find out why they were placed for adoption and learn more about their birth parents. Open adoptions also make it easy for the adoptee to develop a loving relationship with both their adoptive and birth parents. Open adoptions make it easy for adoptive parents to obtain medical information that may be relevant to their child’s physical or mental health.
Semi-open adoptions are adoptions where the birth parents and adoptive parents share non-identifying information with each other. This means they share information like first names and where they live, but don’t share last names or other identifying information. The birth parents and adoptive parents also do not maintain direct contact with each other. Instead, they maintain indirect contact using the adoption agency as an intermediary. Semi-open adoptions offer a combination of openness and privacy.
Semi-open adoptions are great for a birth mother who wants some contact with her child, but doesn’t necessarily want to maintain contact with the adoptive family. In a semi-open adoption, Charlotte, the birth parent, could agree to the adoption if Devin and Daniel, the adoptive parents, agreed to send letters and photographs of their child to their adoption agency, which would in turn send the letters and photographs to Charlotte after removing any identifying information from them. Devin and Daniel could also use the adoption agency to get in contact with Charlotte if their child wants to learn about Charlotte. Charlotte, Devin, and Daniel could also change their agreement to make it more open or more private as time and circumstances change.
Closed adoptions are adoptions where birth parents and adoptive parents do not share any information with each other. This means that there is no communication or contact between birth parents, the adoptive parents, and the adoptee as the adoptee grows up. The adoptee can only open his or her adoption records to find out about his or her birth parents after he or she turns 18. Adoptive parents also do not obtain updated medical information from birth parents. They only obtain some non-identifying medical information from the birth mother at the time of the adoption. However, birth parents are still in control of their adoption plan, including choosing the adoptive parents.
Closed adoptions are increasingly rare, but they are appropriate for birth parents who want to move on with their life after placing their child for adoption or adoptive parents who do not want to maintain contact with the biological parents. For example, if Elizabeth, the birth mother, had an unexpected pregnancy that she wanted to keep private, she could place her child for a closed adoption with Francis, the adoptive father. Alternatively, Francis could prefer a closed adoption if he lives in Australia, and does not want to deal with the logistics of having his child maintain contact with Elizabeth, who lives in Canada. Francis could also prefer a closed adoption if Elizabeth has a criminal history and Francis does not want the adoptee to be exposed to it.
Your Adoption, Your Choice
At the end of the day, it is your choice whether to choose an open adoption, a semi-open adoption, or a closed adoption. Neither choice is wrong, but it is best to make an informed choice because it has huge ramifications for all members of the adoption triad. For more information, visit Adoption Choices of Missouri or call us at 1-877-903-4488