Open Adoption Explained

open-adoption1Historically, adoptions have been “closed” meaning the adoptive parents and the birth parents were kept secret from one another. There was no contact or exchange of information, other than non-identifying information. Adoption records were permanently sealed.

The face of adoption has changed drastically in the past several decades as adoptions have become more “open”. Birth parents and adoptive parents are now able to negotiate the degree of openness appropriate for them. This includes meetings and visits prior to and following the birth of the child.

The numerous advantages to “openness” for all members of the adoption triad are outlined below.

The Birth Parents

  • Have the ability to choose the adoptive couple that will rear their child.
  • Have the opportunity to establish a relationship with the potential adoptive parents before the birth of the baby.
  • Are able to have ongoing contact with their child after placement.
  • Are knowledgeable about the whereabouts of their child.
  • Are provided with a sense of security and comfort. Have confirmation that their child is being loved and cared for.

The Child

  • Helps eliminate the unanswered questions about why he/she was placed for adoption.
  • Provides the child with a relationship with his/her birth parents, which answers questions such as “Who do I look like?”.
  • Helps the child to understand the terms of adoption (birth parents and adoptive parents), and to distinguish the differences between each.
  • Prevents an obsession with “the unknowns” later in the child’s life. Most of the unknowns associated with closed adoption do not exist in open adoption.

open-adoption2The Adoptive Parents

  • Provides their child with a connection to his/her birth parents.
  • Allows the couple to have direct contact with the birth parents, rather than wondering how the birth parents are doing.
  • Allows the couple to become part of the child and birth parents’ life during the pregnancy.
  • Removes many of the fears surrounding adoption and birth parents. It allows the adoptive parents to assist the child in contacting the birth parents when the child has questions.