If you have decided that adoption is right for you and your baby, it is important to know about the possibilities of open adoption. An experienced open adoption agency can help you design a flexible plan that is completely tailored to your needs, hopes and wishes.
Open adoption is a choice that you (the expectant/birth mother) can make in the adoption process, if you wish to meet your child’s adoptive family and/or keep in touch with them over the years. Essentially, open adoption means that you will have some communication with the adoptive family. Many birth mothers choose to create an open adoption plan because it gives them peace of mind. It also can have many benefits for your child, as he/she will have the opportunity to know you and his/her background.
Of course, open adoption may not be right for every one. It is important to know that this is YOUR choice and YOUR plan. You deserve to be comfortable at every stage of the adoption process. If you prefer to have more anonymity right now, you may choose a closed adoption plan. If you decide down the road that you desire more openness and communication, this can be an option for you.
When designing an adoption plan, it is important to keep both your and your child’s needs in mind. As you begin, take a step back and carefully consider your present situation. How might open adoption impact your current lifestyle? Then, try to think about the future. How will an open adoption plan affect your own life goals? How might it affect your child, as he or she grows and begins to understand the adoption process?
If you are leaning towards an open adoption, you must then think about the amount of openness you would like. Every open adoption is unique, and every open adoption works differently. Some birth mothers prefer to receive letters and pictures from the adoptive family. Some desire to meet in-person, or talk on the phone. Think about your comfort level and the level of communication that would satisfy your needs. Ask yourself the below questions to create the adoption plan that is best for you and your child.
What is my ideal adoption plan?
This is probably one of the most important questions an expectant/birth mother can ask herself when beginning the open adoption process. Close your eyes and picture your life over the next few years. After your baby is placed in a new and loving home, do you see yourself staying updated on how he or she is growing? Do you see yourself keeping in contact with the adoptive parents? Try to picture your life five, ten, twenty years from now. Would you be comfortable with your child calling you to talk more openly about the adoption?
What sort of family do I want for my baby?
In an open adoption plan, you are able to choose the parents who will raise your baby, and we welcome you to be involved in this positive choice. Consider your ideal family. Where do they live? Do they have extended family? What are their interests and hobbies? Are there certain values you want your child to possess that can be found in the right adoptive family?
Once you have a picture in your mind of a family for your baby, it will be time to start your research. An open adoption agency can help you research adoptive families in depth by providing you with extensive profile books of each waiting family that may be a good fit based on your wishes. If you would like, you also have the opportunity to meet and develop a relationship with this family before your baby is born and as the years continue. This is completely up to you. In an open adoption, your possibilities for this relationship are flexible—but know that every waiting family at Adoptions With Love is willing to build this connection if you want it. It is also important to note that each waiting family at Adoptions With Love is carefully screened.
Do I want my child to know about me? How much do I want him or her to know?
A huge part of deciding whether open adoption is right for you lies in how much you want your baby to know. In a closed adoption, no identifying information is revealed to your child, or to your child’s adoptive family. In a semi-open adoption, only what you want them to know will be disclosed. In a fully open adoption, your child will be able to contact you according to your contract, and will know both your first and last name at your own discretion.
What is my own comfort level regarding openness?
Your next step will be to decide how much contact you will have with your child, and how much you can see yourself having after the placement takes place. What forms of communication will you be most comfortable enacting? Once you determine this, you will be able to consider how this contact will occur. Will you keep in touch with your child’s family via phone calls or email? Will you schedule yearly visits with your child and his or her adoptive family?
Do I want to meet my child in person? If so, how often?
If you decide that you do desire to see your child face-to-face, there are various ways you can go about it. One question to ask yourself is how exactly do you envision these meetings going? Do you want to schedule periodic visits to your child’s new home? Who do you want to be present at the meetings? You can schedule these meetings with your child’s adoptive parents initially. Some birth and adoptive parents decide it is best to have a third-party mediator present at these meetings, and one of the compassionate counselors at Adoptions With Love can guide the conversation.
As an expectant/birth mother, you can work directly with an agency and potential adoptive parents to decide what is best for your baby. The frequency of communication and visits (if you choose to have them) will be decided based on your desires, as well as the feelings of everyone else involved. Only you know what kind of adoption plan will work best for you and your child. We encourage you to ask yourself these five important questions as you begin your plan. Most importantly, we encourage you to be completely honest with your answers. Only then will you decide if open adoption is the right choice for you.
For more questions about open adoption, as well as how to begin your open adoption plan, please download our free guide, a Guide to Open Adoption. Our team of adoption professionals also welcomes you to contact us at any time of day for any further answers on open or closed adoption. Call us toll-free at 1-800-722-7731, or text us confidentially at 1-617-777-0072. We look forward to hearing from you!