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Open Adoption Facts PDF Print E-mail

Isn’t 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 an 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 good will and cooperation, 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. Few people realize that birth parents, just like adoptive families, want a measure of emotional distance. Health open adoption relationships feature reasonable and mutually respected boundaries.

What does the openness agreement look like?

Here is one example:

It is not accident that we have been brought together for, for together we can accomplish what we could not do apart. Together we give this child the great necessities of life: the roots of security and the wings of opportunity. With hope in our hearts, we collectively offer a blend of security and nurture. It was love for children in general that put us on converging paths, and not it is our love for this unique child, which unites us for the shared journey ahead.

We stand committed to our ideals. We believe that children have innate dignity. We are convinced that children are not possessions to be hoarded, but rather gifts from God to be selflessly loved. We believe that children need security and stability, and we recognize that they innocently depend on the adults in their lives for these comforts. We believe relationships thrive in an atmosphere of honesty and mutual respect. We recognize that if any one of us is diminished, we all are.

Therefore we pledge to:

  1. Centre on the child and elevate his or her interest above our own.
  2. Be honest in all our interactions.
  3. Take the time to consider situations from the perspective of others.
  4. Protect the honour and reputation of the others in this relationship.
  5. Consult each other before introducing new people into the arrangement.
  6. Stay flexible and open to new possibilities.
  7. Convey newly discovered medical information.
  8. Be direct in the expression of feelings.
  9. Consider mediation in the event of major misunderstanding or disagreement.
  10. Consider sharing our experience for the benefit of others.

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

    The study published by the National Association of Social Workers, Inc., revealed 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." In open adoption, the birth parents aren’t faceless, nameless figures but real people who gave life to your child.

    What are the advantages for adoptive parents in open adoption?

    • More control in working with the birth parents.
    • More prepared for role as parents.
    • 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.
    • Dissolution of fantasies about birth parents.
    • Knowledge that birth mother 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.

    Adoptive parents also mentioned that by meeting the birth parents in person, they didn’t have to rely on second-hand information. As one respondent said, "I don’t have to trust that someone else interviewed the birth mother thoroughly and accurately and the reported the information to me reliably."