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What is an Open Adoption? Does it Work?

what is open adoption


What is Open Adoption?

Open adoption has evolved, changed and been defined in countless different ways by many different people. There is not a “one plan” fits all when it comes to open adoption. The beauty of an open adoption is the opportunity to create and build your contact and relationship to fit your needs. However different each open adoption may be; successful open adoptions work because those involved trust and respect the needs and boundaries of each other with the main focus being the best interest of the child.

Why Does Open Adoption Work?

Choosing an open adoption allows for the opportunity to build a relationship between the adoption triad (birthparents, child and adoptive parents) that will benefit the child with many different aspects in their life. The relationship will grow and change as the needs of all involved change. At times, you may need to step outside of your comfort zone, be open to others feelings and ideas, respect boundaries, trust and remember that it is the child that needs to know: how loved they are, where they came from, who they look and to have the opportunity for the relationship to grow and mature.
If there is one thing that open adoption is not, it is selfish. The relationship begins because of the unselfish love the birth parent has for their child and putting the best interest of the child above all else. Birth parents choose adoption for their child because they want a safe, loving and permanent home for them. Many birth parents know they can provide for the needs of their child and love them beyond measure, but they want more for their child – they want the best! Adoptive parents feel the love for their child the minute they learn of the child, their love continues to grow in their heart and that protective instinct is present the minute they hold their child. Just as any relationship requires work, each open adoption relationship will require the same trust, honesty, care and dedication to ensure a positive, healthy relationship.

What is a Closed Adoption?

Closed adoptions are confidential and allow for your complete privacy. During the course of your pregnancy, information may be exchanged via an adoption specialist, but no identifying information, such as names, or addresses will be provided to either party. You may choose to view adoptive family profiles and select a family with the assistance of an adoption agency or professional or you may ask the adoption agency or professional to select the family. If you select a closed adoption, you will not meet the adoptive family or correspond with the adoptive family and the child following your adoption placement. It is your choice to select a closed adoption or something in-between. Counseling with an adoption agency or professional can be helpful as you make your decisions regarding future contact.

What are My Choices?

As you consider your situation and what might be right for you, realize that an unplanned pregnancy takes courage and patience to see it through. Take the time you need to really consider your options and talk with trusted family, friends and professionals that can help you sort through your feelings and emotions. You are likely making one of, if not the biggest decision, of your life. It is important that the decisions and choices you make will be right for you now and in the future. Below are some of the many choices available to you. Remember, you can choose all, some or none of the following options.

  • View adoptive parent profiles with pictures and information.
  • Talk to potential adoptive parents via telephone or video Skype.
  • Meet potential adoptive parents in person.
  • Be the one to tell the adoptive parents that they “are the chosen ones”.
  • Choose to have the adoptive parents attend doctor visits.
  • Schedule periodic visits or calls with adoptive parents during pregnancy.
  • If the hospital allows, include one or both adoptive parents in the delivery room.
  • Have adoptive parents in the hospital waiting room during the delivery.
  • Decide who will give the baby his/her first bath.
  • If the hospital allows, have adoptive parents “banded” to see the baby in the nursery.
  • Have adoptive parents spend time with you during your hospital stay.
  • Schedule time to spend time with adoptive couple in the days following the birth.
  • Exchange email addresses or phone numbers.
  • Determine what kind of post-adoption contact you will want.
  • Choose for the adoption agency to be the go-between for picture and letter exchanges.
  • Have the adoption agency connect you for conference calls.
  • Schedule a face-to-face visit every few years.
  • Request pictures and letter updates to be held in your file to be sent to you upon request.
  • Choose to have complete privacy (closed adoption) and use the assistance of the adoption agency or

What Feels Comfortable to You?

With all of the choices available to you, adoption becomes a great option for an unplanned pregnancy. Professional adoption specialists are available to you to determine what type of adoption plan best suits your current and future desires and needs. You may be surprised by the peace of mind you will feel when you find the right adoptive family with the right openness plan in place.