Considering placing your child for adoption and deciding whether open adoption or closed adoption is best for you is a daunting, hectic, overwhelming and confusing time for birth moms. Whether you’ve already found your perfect agency or are still in the early stages of planning for adoption, it’s sometimes helpful to know some of the facts.
Open adoption is becoming much more popular in the United States, but there are still a lot of questions that birth moms can have about this form of adoption. Let’s take a look at 12 important things to know about open adoption.
- What is Open Adoption?
Open adoption is a type of adoption that gives the birth parents the ability to both remain in contact with their child’s’ adoptive family and get to know and interact with their adopted child.
- Open Adoption Gives you Choice
Unlike in many closed adoptions, open adoption gives the expectant mom a chance to choose who they want to raise their child. They can pick a parent or parents whose beliefs, ethnicity, or faith aligns with their own if they so desire. They are able to meet with the parents prior to the birth, and can even have the parents present at the hospital when the baby is born.
- No Cost
Like other forms of adoption, open adoption does not cost the birth mother any money, and there are no fees charged to the birth mom. In fact, depending on the agency and adoption agreement, you may be given a stipend or have pregnancy-related fees paid by the adoptive parents.
Many adoption agencies offer free counseling to both you and the adoptive parents to help prepare you for placing your child. Birth moms often find it helpful to talk through their feelings at this difficult and emotional time.
- You Can Negotiate Your Own Terms
Open adoption allows for much more discussion as to how you wish for the adoption to be managed. Some birth moms are happy with letters and photo updates every few months, while other birth moms seek visitation with their child.
- Your Child Can Recognize You How You Wish
Of course, this will need to be in agreement with the adoptive parents of your child, who of course will want to be recognized as mom and dad, but, with open adoption you’ll definitely have a say in what you wish to be called by your child. Some agree on a parental term such as ‘mama’, while others choose a special nickname to be used by the child.
- Open Adoption is a Spectrum
Open adoption actually occurs in 95% of domestic adoption cases, whereas closed adoption only takes place 5% of the time. This high number is due to the fact that open adoption is a spectrum including fully open and semi-open options.
- Most Adoptive Parents Want to Know You
The adoptive parents will typically want to get to know you and learn about you as not just a birth mom, but as a person. This will help to strengthen your bond in the years following the adoption.
- Open Adoption Benefits Your Child
Children from closed adoptions can start to struggle with their concept of identity as they grow up because they know little of their origins or birth story. Open adoption removes this struggle.
- Open Adoption Benefits the Birth Mom
Open adoption can be very beneficial to birth moms, as they get to remain a part of their child’s life. This can remove some of the feelings of remorse or regret post-adoption, and also mean the birth mom isn’t left wondering about their child’s progress in the months and years following the adoption.
- Open Adoption Benefits the Adoptive Parents
Having contact with the birth mom benefits adoptive parents as they are able to easily answer their child’s natural questions regarding their birth and origin. In cases where the birth mom has a different faith or ethnicity than the adoptive family, she can fill the role of a cultural guide to the child.
- Open Adoption isn’t for Everyone
Of course, while there are lots of benefits to choosing open adoption, it isn’t for everyone. Some birth moms prefer the clean break that can come with a closed adoption, as they aren’t able to cope with the emotional stresses of being in contact with their child yet not being able to personally raise them. Either way, whatever you choose, it’s important to remember that the choice is yours, and you should always do what feels right for you.