Many women facing an unplanned pregnancy begin to consider their options, including adoption. However, they often come across terms that are unfamiliar to them, making the process seem more confusing than it needs to be. Here at Adoptions With Love, one of the most common questions we hear is, “What exactly is OPEN adoption?”
The confusion surrounding this term is understandable since “open adoption” can mean different things to different people. Open adoption is a process that involves more contact between birth parents, adoptive parents and the child. It allows the birth parent to choose the right family for the baby and introduces the option for post-adoption contact between the birth parent and the adopted child. Each open adoption is unique, and a very special relationship, so birth parents and families can determine what level or what kinds of contact are best for them and when that contact will occur.
Closed adoptions may or may not involve the birth parent choosing the family. Sometimes the birth parent may want the adoption agency to choose an appropriate, loving family that they have approved for adoption to become the parents. However, in some cases, the birth parents may wish to choose the family for the baby, but not have any further contact in the future.
When birth parents wish to choose the perfect family for their baby, open adoption or semi-open adoption can provide them this wonderful opportunity. They look at profiles of prospective families who hope to become the child’s parents. These profiles describe their family life, their home, careers, hobbies, special interests, extended family members and in some cases, what they have gone through regarding their infertility. They usually contain lots of photos to help show their personalities.
Birth parents can learn a tremendous amount of information about the families looking to adopt by reading their profiles and browsing their pictures online, but some parents create an album that includes many more pictures and additional information about themselves. Most birth parents look for some kind of connection or a common interest with the prospective parents.
In addition to learning about and selecting the family they feel most comfortable with, open adoption also provides birth parents with the opportunity to meet the family in person and get to know them on a more intimate level. In some cases, the birth parent has even asked the chosen parents to participate in the birth of the baby.
Choosing open adoption also affects what takes place after the adoption, but there are different degrees of “openness.” It typically means that birth parents can have some kind of contact with the adopted child, but each situation is unique. Each adoptive family and birth parent determine what they are most comfortable with.
Perhaps everyone agrees that the birth parent will receive letters and pictures of the child as he or she grows and develops. Letters and photos can be delivered through the adoption agency or sent directly from the chosen adoptive parents. Some families and the birth parents may have annual in-person meetings. Perhaps phone numbers and full names are exchanged, but not necessarily. At Adoptions With Love, birth parents have the ability to design their adoption plan. Each open adoption is unique and creates a very special relationship between all parties in the adoption.
Some birth parents do not want to choose the parents. They want to put the decision in the hands of the adoption agency to choose an appropriate, loving family that they have approved for adoption to become the parents of their baby. In those cases, closed adoption is the right fit.
Ultimately, the choice is up to the birth parent to determine if they want an open, semi-open or closed adoption, and here at Adoptions With Love, we will help make sure the process goes as smoothly as possible for everyone, regardless of what they choose.