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Open Adoption Facts PDF Print E-mail

Is it harder for a woman to accept the placement if she sees her child regularly?

Because birth parents are able to see the child being well cared for and loved in the adoptive home, they are reassured that the child has the kind of life they wanted for him or her. Had they not been able to see their child, it would only increase their fear that the child was not being cared for.

Won’t the child be confused?

Although both birth parents and adoptive parents are concerned about this question, the adopted child is actually less likely to be confused in an open adoption. Children always fare better with concrete information, as opposed to abstract concepts. Even the words ‘adoption’ and ‘birth parents’ are difficult for children to comprehend because they have nothing to attach to these words. Through contact with their birth parents, open adoption allows children to put a visual image to these terms and helps them understand the role of birth parents in their lives. To the adopted child, birth parents are often looked upon as extended family members, comparable to that of an aunt or uncle. With ongoing visitation, the adopted child reinforces the relationship with them, just as he or she does with other caring relatives. Birth parents become a known reality, rather than an unknown figure, which facilitates understanding.

Is open adoption similar to co-parenting?

No. In a co-parenting situation, all parent figures have equal authority, roles, and access. In an open adoption, birth parents have no authority over the adopted child. All birth parent involvement with the adopted child, is based on respectful relationships, not authority. At the same time, the adoptive parents in an open adoption understand the importance of maintaining a relationship with their adoptive child’s birth parents. Healthy open adoption relationships feature reasonable and mutually respected boundaries.

    What is the benefit for the child in an open adoption?

    Research studies published over the years, reveal that children of open adoptions grow up with:

    • A clearer sense of identity.
    • The knowledge that they are loved by their birth family.
    • Ready access to information about their medical and social history.
    • Access to biological siblings, if there are any.
    • An understanding about why their birth parents chose adoption.

    This knowledge for a child often means avoiding those years of speculation that many adopted persons from closed adoptions must mentally contend with, often over a lifetime. In an open adoption, knowing these details often means closure for the adopted person, or more likely a better sense of "self." 

    What are the advantages for adoptive parents in open adoption?

    • Access to birth parents’ medical histories, personalities.
    • Awareness of birth parents’ prenatal care and health risks during pregnancy.
    • More ability to answer child’s questions about their origins.
    • Knowledge that birth family chose adoption freely and willingly.
    • Explicit permission of birth parents to raise the child.
    • Knowledge of information, such as last names and addresses, which no longer are controlled by law or agency.
    • More people to love the child.
    • An special connection to share in the celebration of milestones and the joys of parenting