The term “open adoption,” means different things to different families. The most important thing to remember as you design your adoption plan is that you, as an expectant/birth mother, have many options.
We determined in our previous blog post that there is no single definition of open adoption. While open adoption involves a relationship between an adoptive family and birth parent(s), that arrangement can look different a bit different for everyone. For example, one form of open adoption may include an adoptive family and birth mother exchanging letters and photos through their adoption agency (such as through Adoptions With Love’s letter and picture program). Or, a birth mother may desire to visit her child and his or her adoptive family several times a year. Most open adoptions, however, lay somewhere in between. This may include phone calls, texts, emails, video chats, contact via social media, and/or face-to-face meetings. Their are numerous possibilities when designing an open adoption plan.
When choosing open adoption at Adoptions With Love, expectant and birth mothers are in the driver’s seat. As an expectant/birth mother, you can decide how much openness (or communication) you wish to have with your child’s adoptive family. You can decide what those contact methods will look like, and how frequently you would like to hear from the family (if at all).
No matter what type of open adoption you choose, know that our experienced staff will help to negotiate an agreement that ensures your wishes are met. As time passes, we will continue to work with you, the adoptive parents, and your child to ensure the agreement always takes into account the best interests of the child.
Every waiting adoptive family at Adoptions With Love supports some level of openness. They all have agreed to a semi-open adoption plan, at the least, and are more than willing to follow your lead. As you design your open adoption plan, ask yourself what type of relationship will be best for you and your baby. What level of openness are you comfortable with? How much contact do you wish to have with your family, or child, over the years? Consider the following open adoption options.
Fully Open Adoption
A fully open adoption entails direct communication between a birth mother and the adoptive family she chooses for her child. Some of your many options for this direct, open adoption contact include:
- Scheduled face-to-face visits: Whether you decide you want to visit your child on his or her birthday, or spend the holidays together, or spend a day with the adoptive family a few times a year. We will detail these type of arrangements in a contract so that you can rest assured these visits will be followed.
- Direct exchange of letters and pictures: The direct exchange of letters and pictures is a great way for families to stay connected post-placement. You may also choose to exchange these through our agency, where your address will not be revealed (see below).
- Text messaging, phone calls, or emails: This type of ongoing contact is common in open adoption, and can give birth mothers, adoptive families, and adopted children great peace of mind.
- Ongoing contact with adoptive parents only: Some birth mothers believe that maintaining contact with their child may be too overwhelming, but still desire to stay connected. As a result, some will choose to continue a relationship with the adoptive parents of their choice.
A semi-open adoption means that an adoption agency will help you stay connected to your child. They will mediate any communication between you and the adoptive family. This allows you to maintain some privacy, if you wish. Your options for a semi-open adoption plan include:
- Letter and picture updates through an experienced open adoption agency: At Adoptions With Love, all adoptive families submit letters and pictures of their adopted child on a regular basis. If you decide you do not want contact with your child initially, that is okay. We keep these letters and pictures safe in the case that you may want to check in on them someday. At our agency, we believe that adoption stories change and evolve beyond placement. You or your child may have questions over time, and this program will allow you to receive answers as they arise.
- Mediated emails or phone calls: Our agency is happy to serve as an intermediary and schedule non-identifying phone calls between you and your child and/or your child’s adoptive family. In this case, your phone number will not be revealed. Adoptions With Love can also mediate emails between you and the adoptive family, where we will dedicate one email address to your continued relationship with your child’s adoptive family. Again, no identifying information (like your location or your last name) will be revealed in this contact arrangement.
- Arranged meetings supervised by a compassionate, non-biased adoption professional: Arranging meetings with an adoptive family, and having a mediator there, can allow birth mothers to communicate freely with their child with the assistance of a trained adoption counselor. If you choose to continue these mediated meetings, you may eventually decide that you desire more of a relationship with your child’s family. These meetings are a good opportunity to discover if developing direct contact is of interest to you and the adoptive family down the road.
Remember, the choice is yours. There is no single adoption plan that will be right for everyone. For more, detailed information on your options in open adoption, please download Adoptions With Love’s Guide to Open Adoption. This guide has been written by our dedicated adoption team to show how beautiful, lifelong relationships can stem from open adoption. We hope it helps expectant and birth mothers decide what type of adoption plan is best for you.
If you have any questions on your adoption options do not hesitate to call us at 1-800-722-7731 or text us confidentially at 617-777-0072. Amy, Nancy, Claudia, and Amelia are available to you at any time, 24/7.