We know this may be a difficult and confusing time in your life, and you need to know your options. With Children of All Nations’ domestic program, we have counselors available to help you make decisions that are right for you and your child. If adoption is your choice, you decide how involved you want to be in choosing and maintaining a relationship with the adoptive family. This may include updates and contact with the family and child if this is what you desire.
The degree of contact, or openness you have between the adoptive parents and child, looks different for everyone and may evolve over time. Some birth parents do not want to have any contact with their child after the birth, while others like to receive regular updates or even have occasional visits together. Current research shows that birth mothers who have been able to select the adoptive family for their child and have ongoing contact and knowledge results in lower levels of grief and greater peace of mind with their adoption decisions.
There is no “right” amount of contact or “formula” to follow when it comes to open adoption. Each case looks differently, according to what is best for all parties involved.
- Confidential (closed):
In a confidential adoption, often referred to as closed, no identifying information (or face-to-face contact) is shared between the birth and adoptive families. Available medical and social information is shared without revealing the birth parents’ identity. The agency selects a “match” family for the child, and the adoption records are sealed. Confidential adoptions are becoming very rare.
- Mediated (semi-open):
In a mediated adoption, non-identifying information about the birth and adoptive families is collected and shared through an agency. Contact usually consists of letters, email and/or picture sharing, with the adoption agency acting as an intermediary. Semi-open adoptions may sometimes involve an occasional visit in a neutral location, usually facilitated by the adoption agency. The birth parents typically select the adoptive family and may or may not meet them prior to the birth of the child.
- Fully Disclosed (open):
A fully-disclosed adoption is just as it sounds: identifying information about the birth and adoptive family is fully disclosed. The birth parents select the adoptive family, and the type and amount of contact they plan to have with one another is openly discussed and mutually agreed upon. Quite often, in an open adoption, the adoptive parents are included in the birth of the baby. Oftentimes, a relationship builds between both families through the adoption process, whereas a connection develops and the birth family becomes like extended family to the adoptive parents.