Open Adoptions FAQ

Frequently asked questions about adoptions where there is some degree of contact between the birthparents, the adoptive parents, and sometimes the adopted child.

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What is an open adoption?

An open adoption is one in which there is some degree of contact between the birthparents and the adoptive parents -- often this includes contact with the child as well. There is no one standard for open adoptions; each family works out an arrangement that works well for them. Some adoptive parents consider meeting the birthparents just once before the birth of the child, while others form ongoing relationships which may include written correspondence or visits.

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What are the advantages of open adoptions?

Open adoptions often help reduce stress and worry by eliminating the power of the unknown: rather than fearing the day that a stranger will come knocking on their door to ask for the child back, adoptive parents are reassured by knowing the birthparents personally and dealing with them directly. This openness can be beneficial to the child as well, who will grow up with fewer questions -- and misconceptions -- than might a child of a closed adoption.

If you want your adoption to be open and decide to use an agency, be sure to find out their policies on open placements. Some agencies offer only closed or semi-open adoptions, and will not provide identifying information about birth or adoptive parents even if both families want the adoption to be open. On the other hand, independent adoptions -- where allowed -- permit any degree of openness desired by the birth and adoptive families.

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