Interested in adoption? Many people are unaware there are actually several different types of adoption. Namely, open and closed adoption are the main options. While it’s great to go into adoption with an open heart and mind, having a good understanding of what kind of adoption might be the best fit for you can save you time, and ultimately help you find the right child for your family. 

Open adoptions are where the birth family and the adoptive family are in regular contact. Families exchange information and begin to build relationships over time. In many situations, the child may occasionally visit their birth family. In some open adoption cases, families are matched before the child is even born, and build a relationship with the birth parents throughout the child’s pregnancy. Usually, one meeting is required, either in person or over the phone. 

In order to maintain a healthy relationship with the birth family, some adoption cases include a post-placement agreement that specifies the type of relationship that the child will have with their birth family, and how they can contact them. This is a civil agreement that has the child’s best interest at heart while establishing some ground rules, as sometimes emotion can take over. 

The pros for open adoption is namely the ability to openly contact the birth family, which allows the child the opportunity to build a healthy, positive relationship with their parents. When questions arise, they are able to ask them and have the freedom to discover their feelings and find their place.

On the other hand, there is the option of closed adoption. In this case, there is little to no communication with the birth family. There might be a brief meeting, but there is no long-term contact. There is also a higher standard when it comes to protection of privacy- on both sides. Any exchanging of documents or information such as medical records will be mediated by an adoption specialist, in order to keep things confidential. 

Some people prefer no communication, as they don’t have to worry about any possible complications with the birth family. People may believe the presence of birth parents in a child’s life may confuse them and make things more difficult. However, while there is always a possibility for a complicated relationship, closed adoption also takes away the possibility of a positive one. It takes away the child’s choice to have a relationship at all. Closed adoption offers higher risk for confusion, simply because there is no way to contact their parents and ask questions that will naturally arise. 

While there is no one right way to do adoption, it seems that openness in adoption makes for a more healthy and positive experience. If you’re not completely comfortable with an open adoption, there are always “semi-open” adoption options, with a little more regulation. Discuss your adoptions with your adoption specialist, and think things over. Most importantly, keep your child’s best interest as the number one priority.