Birth Mom Questions: What Kind of Adoption Is Best – Open, Closed, Semi-Open?

Birth Mom Questions: What Kind of Adoption Is Best – Open, Closed, Semi-Open?

When planning to place a child for adoption, one of the most common concerns that expectant mothers have is which type of adoption is best for their needs. Closed and open adoptions both have their own benefits and drawbacks, which can make it difficult for you, as a birth mother, to determine which route you should take. That’s why it is crucial to take the time to identify your personal goals and determine what you want to get out of the process before you make a decision.

First, it’s important to understand exactly the different types of communication agreements with an adoption.  No matter what questions you have when making an adoption plan, we have all the information you need to answer them. Here’s everything you need to know about closed adoptions and whether this choice is appropriate for your needs.

What Is a Closed Adoption?

A closed adoption is an arrangement in which no contact takes place between the adoptive family and birth family. There is also no identifying information about either family exchanged between the two parties. However, you will typically be expected to share some basic, non-identifying information about your family and child with the adoptive family. This exchange of information takes place before you sign your consent  for adoption, and it allows the adoptive family to learn more about your child and background.  For instance, the medical records during your pregnancy are necessary for the adoptive family to see.  All identifying information will be redacted (removed)  prior to allowing the adoptive parents to see your medical records. Additionally, it is important for adoptive parents to know your family’s medical history.  For instance, is there a history of cancer in your family?

It’s also important to know that all court records are sealed. This means that no one can access those records.  The purpose of doing this is to protect your right to privacy. If you would like your child to be able to find you after they reach age 18, there is the Florida Adoption Reunion Registry or a document can be signed stating that the adoption entity can provide that information to the adoptee after they reach age 18.

How Does a Closed Adoption Differ From an Open Adoption?

There are several key differences between a closed and open adoption that are worth considering before you make your choice.

Unlike a closed adoption, there is some level of communication between the birth family and adoptive family with an open adoption. Some examples of this communication include the following:

  • Writing and sending letters
  • Talking on the phone
  • Exchanging photos
  • Sending emails
  • Periodic visits

While there are some similarities between all open adoptions, no two situations are exactly alike. The level of communication that your adopted child has with you depends entirely on your and your adoptive family’s comfort level.

Most adoptions are semi-open.  This means that you know the adoptive parent’s first names; they know your first name.  You will receive letters and pictures of your child during his/her life until the age of 18. You may also send letters and pictures to the adoptive family.

In a fully open adoption, you know  the full names of the adoptive parents, and they know your full name. You exchange phone numbers and both expect a free-flowing line of communication after the birth of the child.

It is important to know that any adoption agreement is not legally enforceable under Florida law.  These are all written with the child’s best interest in mind and in good faith.

Benefits of Choosing a Closed Adoption

When deciding whether a closed adoption is right for you, it’s important to take the time to consider the advantages of this option. Understanding how a closed adoption may benefit your life will enable you to make a more informed decision.

One of the most commonly cited advantages of a closed adoption is a greater sense of privacy. If you don’t feel comfortable sharing your contact information with the adoptive family, you have the option of keeping this information private with a closed adoption. Many expectant mothers also feel vulnerable when faced with the reality of placing a child for adoption, and keeping their adoption closed allows them to cope with the process in a different way.

In addition, choosing an open adoption often paves the way for questions that you might not feel comfortable answering. If you’re worried about prying from curious family members or friends, open adoption may not be the best choice for you. A closed adoption gives you the opportunity to set boundaries that grant you more privacy and peace of mind.

Potential Drawbacks of a Closed Adoption

While it’s crucial to take the benefits of a closed adoption into account, it’s also well worth your time to think about the possible disadvantages. Once you’ve weighed the pros and cons, you can make the decision that’s ultimately the right fit for your needs.

With a totally closed adoption, you will be unable to receive pictures and letters of your child as he/she grows up.  You might choose this option if you want to preserve your privacy and/or want total closure with the adoption choice.

Additionally, the child might have questions about you as he/she grows up.  With a totally closed adoption, the adoptive parents will not be able to tell the child all about you and how much you loved him/her.  This may cause your child to feel confused as they get older and struggle with their sense of identity, particularly during the teen years.

Is a Closed Adoption the Best Choice for Your Needs?

As an expectant mother, you want to carefully consider all of your options before you make an adoption decision. By taking each advantage and drawback into account, you can have a more comprehensive idea of closed adoption and determine whether this route is best for you.

Ultimately, it’s important to remember that everyone’s situation is unique. As such, only you know which course of action is most appropriate. If privacy and a sense of closure are important to you, closed adoption may be the right choice. However, if you want to watch your child grow, you should choose a semi-open adoption or open adoption.  A totally open adoption has disadvantages though.  It can be difficult for you to move forward with your life if the adoption is totally open. It can also raise some concerns about boundaries. It can also be difficult for the adoptive parents to parent the child, and for the child to respect the parents as his/her parents.

A semi-open adoption allows you to watch your child grow from a distance. It gives you a sense of peace in knowing that your child is loved and cared for as you watch him/her grow.  Additionally, the adoptive parents will have met you and gotten to know you, so they can tell the child about you and your love for him/her. The best part is that your child will know that this was a decision made from love and that you never “gave him/her up”. The child will see that the continued level of interest that you have in watching them grow means you truly care about him/her having the best life possible.

No matter which decision you make, it’s vital to ensure that it’s a well-informed choice. Do your research well ahead of time, talk to a counselor, and feel free to talk to us about the right choice for you.

Once you’ve sought out the advice you need and decided which option is right for you, you’ll be ready to visit to find the perfect family for your child.

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