Why Open Adoption Has Become The Preferred Approach
Years ago, if you chose to put your baby up for adoption, the assumption was that it would be a closed adoption. After the baby was sent off with the adoptive parents, there would no longer be any contact between the birth parents and the child. Today, however, things are different. Many adoptions are now open adoptions — meaning that the child, adoptive parents, and birth parents maintain some level of contact as time goes on. Why is this the preferred approach now? Well, as it turns out, open adoption has some key advantages for the child, the birth parents, and the adoptive parents.
For the Birth Parents
Giving up a baby for adoption is hard. When birth parents make this decision, it is because they feel it's the best thing for the child. Giving up a baby with the knowledge that you will never see them again is much more difficult than giving up a child while knowing that you'll continue to have some level of contact with them while another set of parents cares for them. An open adoption can give birth parents peace with their decision. It can help them move forward in life with less ongoing impact on their mental health.
For the Baby
Many children who were adopted in closed adoptions and later learned they were adopted faced a lot of emotional turmoil related to the situation. They wondered where they came from, and they wondered what their birth parents were like. Children adopted through open adoptions do not have these same quandaries. They grow up knowing who their birth parents are. Even if they only see the birth parents once a year, there is some level of established relationship there, which can be very comforting and reassuring. The child won't have to search for their birth parents or re-establish their identity when they grow older.
For the Adoptive Parents
Closed adoptions can be hard on adoptive parents, too! They often struggled to answer the children's questions about their birth parents. They may have questions about inherited medical problems the child might be prone to. Continuing some level of relationship with the birth parents via an open adoption relieves the adoptive parents from having to answer these tough questions from the child, and it allows them to directly ask the birth parents about any inherited diseases that may be at play.
These days, although closed adoptions still exist, many adoptions are open. This can mean different things in different situations. For some families, it means a yearly meeting with both sets of parents and the child. For other families, it means sharing pictures and letters every few months. You can discuss the details further with your adoption agent, but know that open adoption is likely a wise choice for all involved.
To learn more about open adoption, contact an adoption agency.