Question: My wife and I have just started to look into domestic adoption. We keep hearing the phrase
“open adoption.” What is open adoption all about?
Answer: Open adoption can take many forms, from just talking on the phone with your child’s birth mother, or meeting once in person with her. It can also mean ongoing emails and photos, phone calls, or visits after the adoption placement. The level of contact is something that you will discuss with your child’s birth parents as you develop a relationship with them.
Lifetime Adoption supports some amount of openness to contact among the birth parents, adoptive families, and children. This openness has been proven to result in safer adoptions with fewer reclaims. Plus, such openness in most adoptions is in the best interest to all involved.
It is very helpful and practical to have the opportunity to know your child’s medical history. With some conditions, it is essential to know about any medical issues that may occur as the child grows up. Should a rare situation arise that your child needs something from a biological relative, you would be able to find one easily.
Many birth parents seek contact through occasional emails, letters and photos, or possibly phone calls, from the adoptive family. Adoptive parents can also share photos and updates through social media sites such as Facebook. Birth parents who choose open adoption are simply seeking reassurance that their birth child is growing up safe and happy.
At times, birth families request a closed adoption and don’t want any contact until the child is 18 years old. The decision about the level of openness is as much the birth parents’ as it is yours, and will be discussed during your adoption match.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on May 5, 2014, and has since been updated.
Mardie Caldwell, C.O.A.P., is a nationally-recognized adoption expert and the Founder of Lifetime Adoption Agency. She has been working in adoption since 1986 and is also an award-winning author and speaker.
Mardie knows the sorrow of coping with infertility, and is an adoptive parent who experienced many of the challenges adoptive families might face. In various media appearances worldwide, publications, and her podcast, Mardie important steps that must be taken to complete a safe and secure adoption. Having adopted her son, Mardie knows firsthand the joys of raising an adopted child.
Mardie’s life mission is to help adoptive parents and birth parents find each other. With Lifetime Adoption Agency, she seeks to build happy families and provide precious infants and children with a loving and secure future.