Open adoption can be a scary concept at first. So it’s perfectly normal to have questions. A couple questions that might have crossed your mind are, “Will my child be confused about who their parents are?” or “Does that mean the birth parents can change their mind after placement?”
The answer to both of these questions is no. Studies have shown that having an open adoption is actually healthier and more beneficial. This does not mean “co-parenting”. The birth parents cannot change their minds after final placement. There is a process called “Termination of Parental Rights” that will happen. “This is a legal process involving a court hearing during which a judge issues a decree that permanently ends all legal parental rights of a birth parent to a child.” (Visit http://www.adopt.org/adoption-laws for more information on adoption laws.)
Open adoptions are becoming more and more common. According to Adoption Network, 60-70% of domestic adoptions are open. This number continues to increase as the benefits become more widely known.
what is open adoption?
There are many ways an adoption can be considered open. Open adoption simply means there is some kind of relationship between the birth parents, adoptive parents and child. The level of openness can vary widely. Expectations are set between the two families on how they want the relationship to be. This can mean in person visits every month, texts/phone calls with an occasional visit or even just email updates. It is up to both parties to determine what they are comfortable with. If you don’t feel like you can commit to in person visits every month, don’t make that promise. Be honest and realistic about what you feel your family can do.
Like any relationship this one will change over time. It’s not uncommon for the expectations to change after a few years. Communication is key in continuing the relationship and making it work.
what are the benefits?
There are a variety of benefits for birth parents, adoptive parents and the child. This is why I love open adoption! It doesn’t favor just one side of the adoption triad.
In an open adoption birth parents are able to pick the adoptive family they feel is best. This gives them more control over their situation. Which results in greater peace of mind. An open adoption can also help with the grieving process. Putting a child up for adoption is not an easy task. It requires a lot of bravery and strength. Having a relationship with the adoptive family gives the birth mother extra support.
Adoptive parents feel that open adoption is beneficial because it provides an ongoing relationship. Often times families will become friends with the birth mother. Which results in more support and love for the child. Parents are better able to answer their child’s questions about their birth parents and the adoption process. Along with the emotional benefits, medical information is readily accessible throughout the child’s life.
As mentioned before, open adoption is also healthier for the child. They are able to have a better sense of identity and increased self-esteem. It is less likely for them to struggle with abandonment issues, because they are able to ask questions. This gives them a better understanding of the adoption situation and helps them have a sense of belonging. Again, they have more family support. Which is never a bad thing right?
Overall, it is up to you to decide what level of openness you are comfortable with. Whether you are a birth parent or adoptive parent. Adoption can be overwhelming at times, but it is a wonderful journey you will never forget!
What are your personal experiences with open adoption? Post a comment or send me a short message!