Open vs. Closed Adoptions

Posted on : November 12, 2016
Orange County Adoption Lawyer

In the past, almost all adoptions were closed. A closed adoption means that no contact exists between the birth parents and child or the adoptive parents after the adoption. The truth is, there may not be any contact before the adoption either. Adoptions in America are more open these days. Sometimes, all parties to an adoption meet and stay in each other’s lives. The choice of whether to have an open or closed adoption is completely up to the adoptive parents. Here’s what you need to know.


Closed Adoptions

Closed adoptions are becoming less common in America. However, closed adoptions are still common in international adoptions. In years past, closed adoptions were the standard for families using an agency to adopt a newborn. The adoptive family placed their name on a list and waited for a social worker to match them with a child. The adoptive parents did not know where the child came from or who the birth parents were. The child may not even about the adoption. This is especially true if their adoptive parents chose not to tell them.


Even if the adoptive parents and birth parents meet each other at the time of the adoption, they don’t remain in touch after its completion. When adoptions are closed, the files are generally physically sealed. However, most states have processes for family members seeking to start a closed adoption to obtain information about the other parties. Closed adoptions are still available and may be preferable to some families depending on different circumstances and situations.


Open Adoptions

Increasingly common today is the “open” adoption procedure. In open adoptions, the adoptive and birth parents meet and generally remain connected. Most adoption agencies now support some level of openness. In fact, in an open adoption, the birth parents have a voice in selecting their child’s adoptive parents. When adopting through an agency, the birth parent can review biographies of adoptive parents and decide who they want to place their child with. The birth parents and adoptive parents meet and might be in touch often during the pregnancy. Many times, the adoptive parents can witness the child’s birth. In some cases, adoptive parents support the child maintaining a friendship with their birth parents.


Pros and Cons of Open vs. Closed Adoption

For both birth parents and adoptive parents, open adoption is more intimate and friendly, and allows a greater level of control in the decision making process. The open adoption process permits adoptive parents to answer their child’s questions about their birth parents. Open adoptions may help the child accept being adopted. This is because the child’s questions can be addressed directly by everyone involved.


There can be drawbacks to open adoption. Many adoptive parents consider a openness to be a danger, worrying that the birth parents will intrude upon their lives after the adoption is completed, or even seek to have the child returned to them. Adoptive parent may stress that the child will be confused over who his or her “real” parents are. In some instances, a closed adoption can give birth parents and adoptive parents peace of mind by making the responsibilities of all parties clear.


Contact an Adoption Lawyer Today

Choosing between an open or a closed adoption is only one question among many that you will face during the process of adopting a child. In addition, there are significant legal issues which will appear as you take on the guardianship and care of an adopted child. Call adoption attorney Barbara E. McNamara today to learn more about your options for open and closed adoptions today at (714) 740-2542.

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