Thirty to forty years ago, an open adoption was practically unheard of. Today, it is the most commonly practiced form of adoption in the United States. There are several reasons why open adoption has become the trend, and why it has become an attractive option for all members of the adoption triad.
Birthparents Choose Adoptive Parents
Choosing an adoptive family is extremely important to birthmothers. This gives them the opportunity to choose a family based her own hopes and wishes for her child. Placing a baby for adoption is a difficult process, but choosing the adoptive family is a way for the birthmother to feel connected to the process and take comfort in knowing she chose the best family for her baby. This is also beneficial for the adoptive family, as being “chosen” is a sign of trust and acceptance from the birthmother – an incredible and unforgettable feeling.
Birthparents and Adoptive Parents Get to Know Each Other
Different from a closed adoption which involves zero identifying information to be shared between birth and adoptive parents, an open adoption opens the door to get to know each other. The birthmother will have some information about the adoptive parents based on their adoptive family profile. Once she chooses a family, identifying information such as names, emails, phone numbers and addresses may be exchanged.
Adoptive Parents Meet the Birthparents
In an open adoption the adoptive and birth parents have the opportunity to meet one another and share full identifying information. This creates a deeper connection between both parties, as well as calms the nerves. Many birthmothers find comfort in meeting the adoptive parents because they are able to get a true sense of who they are, why they chose to adopt, and how the child will fit into their lives. Depending on the comfort level of both the birth and adoptive parents, families may even decide to tag along for doctor’s visits, which involves them in both the pregnancy and adoption.
There is Ongoing Contact
Finalization of the adoption does not end the relationship between the birth and adoptive parents. Instead, it is the closing of one chapter and the start of another. An open adoption includes varying degrees of ongoing contact between the families, often involving the exchange of photos, letters, emails and in person visits. Having this contact is important to many birthmothers, as it aids them in their post-adoption plan by knowing their child is well cared for.
While open adoption is a popular choice for birthmothers and adoptive parents alike, it isn’t the only option. Closed adoption is still a choice for many adoptive families. Consider both adoption types carefully before determining which is best for you.