The open adoption, or fully disclosed option, is becoming more and more the norm in adoption cases. In this kind of adoption the adoptive parents and the adoptee have an open relationship with the birth family. This means that they are actively involving the birth family in the infant’s life.
This openness if often conducted in a way that is most comfortable for the adopting parents and may include communication via telephone, letters, email and even visits. As the child grows and raises more questions the contact between the parties in the adoption often changes to reflect the needs of the family or child.
The goals in maintaining an open infant adoption are focused entirely on the healthy growth and development of the infant. An open adoption will help the infant by minimizing it’s loss, to celebrate all of the important people in the adopted infant’s life and at later stages in the child’s life allow him or her to resolve issues related to the adoption itself.
If, in an infant adoption scenario, openness hasn’t been established in the onset then adoptive parents need to decide when and how much information should be divulged about the birth family. Some things to take into consideration when making this decision are: At what age should the child be included contact with his or her birth family? What role or roles will the birth family have in the child’s life? What happens when one party involved decides to break off contact?
An open adoption also offers some advantages to the families involved. For the birth mother it will help he deal with the grief associated with giving an infant up for adoption, she will feel more secure in her choice of adoptive parents, less pain and guilt will be associated with the decision and will feel comfortable in the wellness off the infant.
Open adoption advantages for the adoptive parents include the increased sense in having the actual right to parent the infant, an increased sense of confidence in their parenting skills, a better understanding of the infant’s background and the delight of being chosen as a parent.
Open Adoption Pros and Cons
The advantages in an open adoption make it look like a clear choice, however, there are also disadvantages for both parties. For the birth mother the disadvantages may come if she feels disappointed in her choice of the adoptive family.
Disadvantages for the adoptive parents may come from pressure by the birth mother for visitation, negative feelings resulting from dealing with an emotionally disturbed birth family or the potential for feeling they have an obligation to support the birth family.
Other things to consider when deciding if an open adoption is something the parties would like is the geographic proximity to each other, the stability of the people surrounding the situation and any legal issues that may have a bearing on the circumstances.
As with all aspects of an adoption, the decision of whether or not to have an open adoption should be made prior to actually proceeding with the adoption of the infant. Having this knowledge will make the process of adoption go much smoother.