What Is Open Adoption?

Historically, adoptions have been “closed.” This meant the identities of both the adoptive parents and the birth parents remained confidential. There was no contact or exchange of information, and adoption records were permanently sealed.

Today, adoptions have become more “open”. In fact, most adoptions today are open adoption. Open adoption means the birth parents and adoptive parents negotiate the degree of communication appropriate for them. This includes meetings and visits before and following the birth of the child. 

Advantages to “Openness”:

The Birth Parents

  • Have the ability to choose the adoptive couple that may rear their child.
  • Have the opportunity to establish a relationship with the potential adoptive parents before the birth of the baby.
  • Can 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 because they can see 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.

The Adoptive Parent

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