What are the different types of adoption?

Today there are several different adoption choices. The best adoption is the one which keeps the best interest of the child in mind and one in which the birth and adoptive parents can agree and accept. The main adoption choices include open adoptions, closed adoptions, and semi-open adoption.

Open Adoption

Open adoption is a collaborative adoption between both the birth parents and the adoptive parents. It can be tailored for the specific parents and the amount of information shared can be negotiated. For instance, identifying information such as the last names, addresses, and telephone numbers of both couples is generally shared and the parents generally meet in person. Some families may also choose to continue communication and interaction throughout the life of the child, beginning with the birth of the child. Communication can include letters, emails, social media exchanges, telephone calls, pictures or visits. It is also not unusual for birth parents to be included for holiday and birthday celebrations.

It is also not unusual for the relationship to change over time as the child ages or the wishes of either parents change. Open adoption is not a one size fits all approach but should be negotiated and created to meet the needs of all parties involved.

Although closed adoptions have historically been the most popular adoptions, the trend has shifted in recent years to a more open philosophy. Many experts once believed that closed adoptions made it easier for the birth parents, the adoptive parents, and the adopted children to accept the adoptions, but experts now believe that for some adoptive families, birth parents and children the closed adoption system has often left too many unanswered questions and may leave all or some of the parties with unresolved feelings of loss.

Closed Adoption

A closed adoption is a more traditional approach to adoption where the adoption is confidential and there is no contact between the birth parents and the adopted child. Information may be shared with the adoptive parents, but it is generally only medical information, not identifying information.

As mentioned above, the decision to do an open or closed adoption is up to both sets of parents, but closed adoption can be easier for the birth mother, who may not want to be constantly reminded of the decision she made to give up her child. It also can allow the birth parents and the adoptive parents the ability to “move forward” with their lives, by providing closure for all parties. Finally, it can eliminate conflicts between parents and eliminate the risk the birth parents could attempt to influence child-rearing decisions (which would generally be made by the adoptive parents if a closed adoption was chosen).

Private or Independent Adoption

For a full explanation of Private or Independent Adoption, please view the article here:  What is Private Adoption?

Semi-open Adoption

Semi-open adoption is a hybrid of open adoption and closed adoption. It allows for some contact, but the contact is made indirectly through a mediator (generally caseworker or lawyer). The contact allows for exchanges of information without actual physical contact between the child and the birth parents. Contact can include letters, photos, and other information. It does not include full names or addresses.

A semi-open adoption may provide benefits for all parties. It eliminates the risk of interference of birth parents in child rearing decisions, but it also allows the birth parents periodic updates and assurance their child is doing well. It also provides adoptive parents privacy and closure in the adoption process.

Adoption is a tough decision, but the good news is there are now new adoption options which allow for more flexibility in the process. Although choice does not eliminate all feelings of loss or abandonment, choosing the best choice for you and your child may help with the adoption process. Talk to an adoption lawyer about what choices may work best for your family.



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