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Birthparent Rights: Open vs. Closed Adoption

pregnancy timelineThose of you who are considering adoption must be overwhelmed with the process of researching and weighing different options. One of the most difficult decisions you will need to make, however, is the choice between open and closed adoption. They result in two very different situations for adoptive families. In order to help you decide, in this post we are going to talk about the rights each of them provide for the birthparents.  In order words, what rights will you have if you choose open adoption as opposed to closed adoption?

Birthparents’ rights in the Case of Closed Adoptions

Although the number is steadily decreasing, closed adoptions are still more common than open ones adoptions are. Usually, they are also the most common images of adoption that people tend to think about when talking about the subject of adoption.

Also known as “secret” or “confidential,” this type of adoption refers to all cases in which the identity of the birth parents is kept secret. This means that once the adoption is finalized, the paperwork containing the identities of the biological parents gets sealed.

Considering this, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that birth parents who choose closed adoption automatically give up their parental rights. This includes not only the right to make decisions about the child’s life, but also the right to contact them. Reunions are possible only when the child gives formal consent after turning 18.

Birthparents’ Rights in the Case of Open Adoptions

Many people believe open adoptions are a product of the modern age. This, however, couldn’t be further from the truth. Most adoptions were of open character
until the beginning of the 20th century, at least in the US. Today they are becoming more and more popular because it has been shown that they benefit both adoptees and their birth parents.

Open adoptions are characterized by a varying degree of contact between the child and their biological parents. Upon choosing this type of adoption, you will be asked to make a formal agreement with the adoptive family. The agreement should involve information on how often and in what way you will be allowed to contact the adoptive family. This means that although you won’t retain your parental rights, you will still have the right to see your child!