Open or Closed Adoption: Which Is Right for You?

When you decide to adopt a child, you have a lot of additional choices to make. One of the biggest is the kind of adoption you wish to pursue: open, semi-open, or closed adoption. Each type of adoption has its benefits, and happy families are formed under each type all the time. However, many birth parents and adoptive parents are confused about the differences between each type of adoption. Exploring these differences will help you make the right choice for your family.

Closed Adoption

Closed adoptions, also known as confidential adoptions, are what most people think of when they think about a traditional adoption. Under a closed adoption, the birth mother or birth parents have no contact with their biological child or the adoptive family. In many cases the child and adoptive parents won’t know anything about the birth parents beyond some basic medical information. Today a fully closed adoption is rare, but they were very common until 30 or 40 years ago.

Closed adoptions sometimes make the adoptive parents feel “safer” in their relationship with their adopted child – they don’t fear that the child will become confused about his or her relationship with the adoptive family. However, closed adoptions can also make it more difficult for an adopted child to learn about his or her birth parents later in life, or for the birth family to let their child know about medical problems or conditions later in life.

Open Adoption

Open adoptions are much more common and popular than they were in the past – many adoptive families keep some degree of contact with their child’s birth parents. The degree of openness in an open adoption can vary widely. Some adoptive parents send letters or photos to their child’s birth parents, while others may even arrange face-to-face visits between their child and the birth family.

There are several benefits to open adoptions that closed adoptions don’t have. First off, it’s very easy for the child to learn about their birth family and stay in contact with them. The child may even build a positive, healthy relationship with their birth family. In some extremely open adoptions, the birth mother or birth parents are welcomed into the adoptive family in a sort of “extended family” relationship. However, this degree of openness is uncommon – most open adoptions simply allow for occasional contact between the birth parents and adoptive family, and the adoptive parents are always in control of exactly how open they want the relationship to be.

Semi-Open Adoption

Along with an open adoption, another choice for adoptive families to consider is a semi-open or partially open adoption. These adoptions have some degree of contact between the birth parents and adoptive family before and after birth or adoption, but the contact is usually managed by the adoption agency. In the case of Deaconess Pregnancy & Adoption Services, we help manage the relationship between many of our birth parents and adoptive families.

Like an open adoption, semi-open adoptions have varying degrees of openness and contact between parties. Sometimes a semi-open adoption will transition into an open adoption, where the adoptive family and birth parents contact each other directly rather than through our agency. However, as with an open adoption, the amount of contact and openness between the birth parents and your adoptive family is always up to you.

Want to learn more about the differences between open and closed adoption and which one might be right for you? Contact us today at Deaconess Pregnancy & Adoption Services. As Oklahoma’s oldest and most trusted adoption agency, we can give you the answers you need to understand the adoption process. Call (405) 949-4200 today to schedule your appointment.