Adoption is not an easy decision to make. Anyone considering placing their baby for adoption always has a list of questions and concerns. If this describes you, just remember that you are not alone.
Approximately one-third of women with an unplanned pregnancy considers, and wants to learn more about, adoption. Expectant/birth mothers and adoptive parents alike often want to learn how the adoption process works, and what services an adoption agency can provide. They also wonder about the legal proceedings and how to place a baby with the right family. It is also common to hear about open adoption and all the benefits it can bring.
If you are considering placing your child for adoption, you may be asking yourself this question: Is it okay if I want to have a closed adoption?
The short answer is yes. Closed adoption may be a positive option for you.
It is true that open adoption has captured a lot of attention in the adoption world over the last several years. For many expectant/birth mothers, it is a positive choice because it allows open communication between adoptive family and birth mom. This can ease the pain of saying “goodbye,” because it simply does not mean goodbye forever. It also allows the birth mother to be a part of her child’s life. Of course, this does not mean it is the right path for everyone. Just because other birth mothers choose to pursue an open adoption does not mean that it is the right choice for you.
At the end of the day, the type of adoption plan you choose is your decision. You are in charge of this adoption, and you have the power to choose the plan that makes you most comfortable.
As you consider closed adoption versus open adoption, here is what you should know:
Consider Your Own Needs
So often in life, we are taught to put others’ needs before our own. As you face this unplanned pregnancy, however, you need to consider your own physical, mental, and emotional health. You need to take some time to rest, and you need to surround yourself with a support team. It is also important to be honest with yourself about your emotional needs – both during and long after pregnancy.
Open adoption may seem like the obvious choice. The truth is however, it is not always easy for some birth mothers to maintain contact with their child’s adoptive family. You may feel like you need a clean break, and a fresh start in life. You will surely need some time to heal. You may want to pursue other personal and professional goals. It is important to remember that you can and should explore all of your options, but ultimately, the choice is yours to make. No one can tell you what type of adoption is best for you.
Common Myths and Misconceptions About Open Adoption
As you weigh this important decision, you may be thinking about open adoption. There are many assumptions made about open adoption, particularly among those who are unfamiliar with this option. Those who do not understand adoption in our society, need to understand that adoption is a positive choice for all involved. The fact that you are willing to carry your baby to term and experience labor and delivery to give your baby a happy life is nothing short of a selfless, incredible act.
In recent years, adoption experts have found that many ideas about open adoption come from a place of misunderstandings and a lack of education on the topic. While many people agree that adoption is an important topic, most know very little about it. Some of these common myths include:
Myth: Open adoption means a birth parent can “take back” their child when ready
Truth: This common adoption misconception is one that stems from the big screen. Perhaps America’s fascination with drama has fueled these rumors, but in reality, a birth mother attempting to “take back” her child is extremely rare. Once a birth parent signs irrevocable consents to the adoption, they cannot change their minds. Working with a credible adoption agency helps build trust, ease fears, and form lasting relationships between birth and adoptive families. These open relationships are made strong by mutual respect and love for the adopted child, and – once the adoption is finalized – the adoption agency serves as the liaison between the two parties. For adoptive parents, the initial fear of the role of birth parents is usually replaced by gratitude.
Myth: Open adoption is confusing for a child.
Truth: Adoption is a complex situation, but children are smart. They are also more open-minded and accepting than us adults give them credit. Each year, thousands of families navigate the open adoption journey. Children do well with open adults, who they can trust to share the truth about their story. If a child is taught from a young age that he was adopted, and the adoption story is shared in a positive light, then that child just may surprise you. An estimated 90 percent of adopted children over age five report having “positive” or “mostly positive” feelings about their adoption today.
Myth: My child will resent me later.
Truth: With open adoption, children can form a strong self-identity and confidence. As your child comes to learn about your personal journey, and your selfless reasonings behind deciding to place her for adoption, she can see that you made your decision out of an abundance of love and commitment. This will help your child develop feelings of love, respect, and appreciation for your difficult decision.
The Perks of Open Adoption and Closed Adoption
Just as no two humans are exactly alike, no two adoptions are the same. Every birth mother’s journey is unique. The best type of adoption for you is not the best adoption for your neighbor. It is up to you to determine which type of adoption relationship you will have with your child and her adoptive parents. Here are some considerations to make on each type of adoption:
Perks of Open Adoption:
- Eliminates secrecy/identity questions for child
- Offers the chance for a positive, continued relationship down the road
- Allows for the doubling of family for both adopted child and birth mother
Perks of Closed Adoption:
- Offers a feeling of a “fresh start” so birth mother can move forward
- Allows for some closure that a birth mother may need as she grieves
Speak to a Professional for More Guidance
As you consider your options, you will want to seek out the professional advice of an experienced, trustworthy adoption agency. Adoptions With Love has been working with expectant/birth mothers since 1986. Our services are always completely free to birth mothers, and there is never any pressure or judgement. Reach out to us any time of day, any day of the week. Call us at 800-722-7731, text us confidentially at 617-777-0072, or contact us online. We are here to help, and we can guide you through this journey to adoption.