A closed (a.k.a. confidential or traditional) adoption is one in which there is no identifying information shared with anyone who is a party to adoption. There is typically little information available, and later on, sealed or destroyed records may make it impossible to learn much more than basic medical information or other minor details for the child.
In a closed adoption, there is no contact between the birth parents and adoptive parents either before or after the adoption, and the child may never have the opportunity to find his biological family, if he desires.
Hopeful adoptive parents seeking an adoption like this are encouraged to explore why they may have fears of birth parents or want no contact, as closed adoption is not considered to be in the best interest of children. Most adoption professionals know from personal experience and from research that it’s a disservice to an adopted child if his parents do not have adequate information to share about his birth parents and why he was placed for adoption. When he asks a simple question about his heritage, for the sake of his emotional health, parents should not ever have to respond with secrecy, lies, or blank stares.
Consider Jacob, who was adopted through a closed adoption. As he approached the age of 18, his mother discussed with him the opportunities of filing with the adoption agency to get information about or to contact his birth parents, if that was his desire. “Why would I want to do that?” he asked. “She never cared about what happened to me.” Despite explanations to the contrary, Jacob truly believed that the lack of information about his birth family was because they didn’t love or want him. In his mind, if they could give him away so easily, he didn’t want them to be a part of his life and found it difficult to discuss his feelings surrounding adoption.
Closed adoption does not provide the framework for an understanding of the circumstances surrounding adoption choices or the opportunity for reassurance. If, after learning the facts and praying about it, you still feel the desire for a closed adoption, explore the international adoption of orphans. Continue to prayerfully consider this choice, and do not choose closed adoption simply out of fear.
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you;
I will remove from you your heart of stone
and give you a heart of flesh.”
This information was excerpted from my book, Called to Adoption. The book is for Christians who are feeling God leading them to consider building their family through adoption. I used my own adoption journey and the experience I’ve gained in helping thousands of couples adopt to create this Christian book for adoption.
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.