What You Should Know About Keeping Your Adoption Confidential
Open adoption is common today and provides expectant moms with many options in terms of how much contact they want with their child and the adoptive family after placement. However, some women do not desire to have an open relationship and wonder how they can keep their adoption a secret. They may have worries surrounding their future and how friends and family might feel about the choice they make. For this reason, confidentiality is of great importance.
Let’s explore what it means to have a confidential or closed adoption and the questions you may have if this is what you choose.
At DPA, all adoptions are confidential. We will never share a mother’s information or confrim/deny that she used our services. The birth mom controls the level of information exchange, i.e. her name, etc.
A confidential adoption is an adoption in which the birth mother chooses to remain anonymous from the adoptive family or keep her pregnancy private from those in her life. Both pregnancy and adoption are highly personal, and you are not obligated to tell anyone about either. Your only responsibility as a birth parent is to decide what’s in the best interest of you and your baby.
Here are a few reasons why birth mothers consider confidential adoptions:
- Lack of a solid support system often leads a birth mother to choose this option
- She doesn’t want friends or family members to find out about the pregnancy
- She is worried about her health, safety, or financial security, and these would be endangered by someone finding out about the adoption
Are Confidential and Closed Adoptions the Same?
In practice, confidential and closed adoptions operate the same way. See below for the major types of adoption.
- Open adoption: Contact information is shared between birth parents and adoptive parents, and they remain in contact following the adoption. The level of contact varies depending on the individuals — regular emails, written letters, in-person contact, etc.
- Semi-open adoption: Specific identifying information (ex: last name and addresses) is not shared. There is often mediated contact through the agency with either in-person visits or letters and pictures exchanged.
- Closed adoption: Birth parents and adoptive parents have no contact after placement and often never meet one another. The only information that the family receives is the medical history of the birth parents.
It depends on what you mean by anonymous. Sometimes people read “anonymous” and think they’ll be able to have the baby and place it without ever giving someone their name. This simply isn’t possible.
You cannot place a child for adoption without providing an adoption agency with some basic personal information. This information includes:
- Your name
- Your medical history
- Your social history
- Your contact information
- Information about the biological father
- And more
Some of this information — such as the medical history — is passed along to the baby’s adoptive parents and then eventually your child. As the Children’s Bureau notes, having this information can help adoptive parents make an initial decision about whether they’re able to meet the child’s needs. Then, medical and genetic histories are helpful when meeting the child’s needs throughout their lifetime.
So, if you choose to go this route, the focus will be on confidentiality and not anonymity. You won’t be able to stay entirely anonymous throughout the process, but an agency can protect your identity and help you prioritize confidentiality.
Should You Keep Your Adoption Confidential?
Adoption is a brave, selfless choice and it can be harmful to keep your adoption secret unless it is necessary (when safety is concerned). Previously, adoption was seen as “shameful,” and thus, families often kept the process under wraps, but today women can feel confident knowing they are making a courageous decision that can positively impact the lives of many.
Here are some reasons we encourage you to be open about your choice if it’s possible in your situation.
- You gain support
Placing a child for adoption is a considerable event in one’s life. It can be harmful to your own well-being to carry this burden by yourself. Confiding in at least a few friends and family members can help lighten your load and ensure you receive the support you need during postpartum and beyond.
- You can’t guarantee secrecy
Unfortunately, while agencies like Deaconess Pregnancy & Adoption seek to keep matters as confidential as possible, you can’t guarantee secrecy. Someone you know (or don’t know) may find out along the way. Pregnancy can be a difficult thing to hide for 9 months, which means someone in your personal life could find out accidentally.
Additionally, you’ll never be anonymous to the agency itself. They’ll require certain identifying information about yourself to complete the adoption, and there’s no guarantee that a third party (like hospital staff) wouldn’t unintentionally reveal this information. With so many factors and people involved, it can be difficult to ensure complete confidentiality.
- You benefit your child
This study shows the benefit of open adoption to the mental and emotional health of adopted children. Furthermore, as the child’s biological parent, you’re the source of much-needed medical information that could be lifesaving for them. Remaining in touch with the adoptive family can help your child physically, mentally, and emotionally as they grow and develop.
If you’re considering adoption in Oklahoma, the Deaconess Pregnancy & Adoption team is ready to help. The choice to place a child is a brave one. Let us support you throughout this journey.