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Open or Closed Adoption?

Many birth parents and adopting families are unclear about what an open adoption and closed child adoption are really about.

Generally, in an open adoption identifying information is shared and a closed adoption identifying information is not exchanged. Below are detailed explanations.

Adoption Services is a not-for-profit adoption agency that completes open adoptions, closed adoptions and any combination of these. Over the past 40+ years my staff and I have helped over 9000 birth parents and families.

Feel free to contact us or call (toll-free 1(800)943-0400) if you have any questions or if you want our guidance or help. All calls are confidential and there is never any obligation or cost to you for our help. Please visit the link "Ways we can help you".

We make sure your child is placed with the perfect family, your rights are protected, and that you receive all the financial assistance and medical help as well as other types of help that the law allows. There is never any fee to you as a birth parent.

Open or Closed Adoption

In a closed child adoption, birth parents and adopting families are anonymous. While many details may be shared, no identifying information (such as last name, addresses, social security numbers, etc.) is exchanged. The birth parents and adopting family can meet, share pictures and updates, and have ongoing contact through the agency, but they do not share last names and addresses.

In an open child adoption, biological and adopting parents exchange identifying information and are then able, if they so choose, to be in direct contact with one another.

Simply stated, an open child adoption is when the family knows your last name, address, and phone number, and you know this information about the family. A closed child adoption is when the identifying information is not exchanged.

It is that simple. It has nothing to do with whether you get pictures, meet the family, get updates, or see your child and the family on an ongoing basis. You can have a closed child adoption and still meet the family and get pictures and updates, but you will not know their last names or how to contact them. Or you can have an open child adoption and choose to receive or not receive pictures and updates. So the real issue for you should not be an open or closed child adoption, but what type of contact you want with the family and your child.

Whether a child adoption is open or closed will depend on what you want, what your state allows, and what child adoption agency you select. With some child adoption agencies, they will not give you a choice. The adoption agency will tell you what you must choose. With Adoption Services, you can choose whether you want an open or closed child adoption.

Rest assured, however, that with either an open or a closed child adoption, you can probably exchange as much or as little information as you would wish. This can be handled by the child adoption agency. Adoption Services has extensive experience with both open and closed child adoption and is here to help you make the best choice for you and your child. We will help you custom-design the arrangements so that they meet with your wishes and desires.

More About Closed Adoption and Open Adoption

Some of the pros and cons of open and closed adoption are listed in the Child Welfare Information Gateway (CWIG) fact-sheet entitled Openness in Adoption.

There are many resources available to help you determine what level of openness might be best for you and you can contact us and we will be glad to assist you. The CWIG website includes the following websites as resources:

Minnesota/Texas Adoption Research Project provides information on a longitudinal study of openness in child adoption since 1985. The most recent wave included a total of 720 individuals: both parents in 190 adoptive families, at least one adopted child in 171 of the families, and 169 birth mothers.

Cooperative (Open) Adoption Laws provides laws for each State on open (sometimes called "cooperative") child adoption, compiled by CWIG.

Insight: Open Adoption Resources and Support offers open child adoption resources for professionals and support for child adoptive and birth parents considering open child adoption.

Closed and Open Adoption: Summary

No one level of a closed or open adoption is best for every birth parent and adoptee. Closed adoptions and open adoptions both can be done in a healthy way so the birth parents and child do not experience unnecessary emotional difficulties. Your adoption agency and adoption counselor should be able to help you structure the adoption is the way that is best for you and your child.

We Can Help a Birth Mother Living in Any State

We are licensed in multiple states and are able to help a birth mother, birth father, and adopting family living in any of the 50 U.S. states. Feel free to contact us or call (toll-free 1(800)943-0400) if you have any questions or if you want our guidance or help. All calls are confidential and there is never any obligation or cost to you for our help.

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