Open Adoption | What’s it Like?

Adoptive family in an open adoption with birth parents

While open adoptions are increasingly more common, it can still seem scary, and both adoptive parents and birth parents may have concerns. It is important to remember that research shows open adoption benefits the adoptee, and in most cases also benefits the birth parents and adoptive parents. 

What is open adoption?

Difference Between Closed vs Open Adoption

Open adoption is different from a closed adoption because it allows the adoptee to know who their birth parents are, and in most cases it keeps a line of communication open between the birth parents and adoptive family.

Communication with Birth Parents

The amount of communication kept between the birth parents and adoptive family varies based on what both parties agree upon. Contact may be kept through letters, emails, phone calls, or in-person visitations. When the child is older and can maintain the relationship with their birth parents themselves, the type of communication may change.

Tips for Open Adoption

While there may be some concerns about boundary issues in open adoption, the best way to prevent this is to clearly communicate from the beginning what type of communication will be maintained and how much input the birth parents will have in the raising of the child. Some tips for open adoption include creating a plan early on will set expectations, and helps ensure everyone is satisfied with the plan. Ideally, it will also help avoid anyone being surprised later on.

Benefits of an Open Adoption

Open adoption benefits the adoptee a great deal. It takes away a lot, if not all, of the mystery surrounding their origins, and prevents them from fantasizing about their birth family. If they have any questions about their birth family or their adoption, they can ask their birth parents directly. 

Open adoption also gives adoptees access to a much greater amount of their medical background information. They can see their birth family’s history of physical, mental, and emotional health issues, which helps adoptees assess their own health and medical needs, and can be essential to helping medical personnel make informed decisions for the adoptee. 

Choosing open adoption can also benefit the birth mother. In some cases of open adoption, the adoptive parents may want to form a relationship with the birth mother while she is still pregnant. This can help the birth mother feel supported and may reassure her that she is making the right decision if she feels the adoptive parents are suitable parents for her child. 

Keeping the lines of communication open can also help the birth mother work through her grief and other emotions. Many birth parents will always wonder about their child’s health and quality of life. In an open adoption, the birth mother can ask the question herself and keep herself from wondering and worrying.  

Adoptive parents may find open adoption benefits them too. They will benefit through the adoptee, but they may also find that the birth parents offer support to them while they navigate being new parents.

Find an Open Adoption Agency in Your State

While open adoption may seem difficult and scary, research and anecdotal evidence points to open adoption being beneficial to everyone involved in the adoption process. To start the open adoption process, contact an Angel Adoption agency in your state. You can find each of our open adoption agencies by state.

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Angel Adoption, Inc. provides marketing and advertising services that assist biological parents considering adoption and prospective adoptive parents to connect with each other, and provides support and referral services throughout the process. Angel Adoption, Inc. is an independent contractor and provides services under the supervision of Lutheran Child and Family Services of Illinois, License #012998, One Oakbrook Terrace, #501, Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181; 708-771-7180.