Open vs. Closed Adoption

Topics: Adoption Pages: 6 (2112 words) Published: July 18, 2010
For many people, adoption is the only choice when it comes to having children. Once someone chooses adoption, however, there is always more than one option available. It is important when choosing adoption that each person involved is educated on the topic. There are three main types of adoption: confidential, mediated, and fully disclosed. “In up to 90% of domestic infant adoptions, adoptive parents maintain some contact with birth parents. It's considered best practice because most women want to know what happens to the child and the child wants to know family history” (Koch, 2009). Even though the adoptive parents may not create a strong bond with the child, an open adoption is better than one that is closed because children respond well to open adoptions and the birth parents cope better. Adoption is a legal process, practiced in front of a judge, which brings together a child or children with new parents. When a child is adopted the adoptive parents receive the same legal rights and responsibilities as if they were the birthparents. Once welcomed into the family the child assumes the emotional and social responsibilities of any other family member. Most judges will use the phrase, “as if born to” (Adoption Media, 1995-2010) to signify the child/parent relationship. Before the process is finished, a judge will converse with each party involved and verify that everyone understands exactly what is about to take place. The rights of the biological parents are severed and the adoptive parents receive all parental rights. The three most commonly known forms of adoption are closed, semi-open, and open adoption. A closed adoption is when there is absolutely no contact between parties involved once the adoption is finalized. This is the most traditional type of adoption. There is no identifying information shared about the birthparents or the adopted child and they’re new family. Semi open adoption is when some information is shared between the birthparents and the adoptive family. Usually there is a mediator, such as a social worker, who passes information along to both parties. Finally an open adoption is when all information is shared. There may be meetings arranged, phones calls, letters, and pictures exchanged between the birth and adoptive families. Out of these three types of adoption, the most traditional type is a closed adoption. Closed adoptions have been the norm for quite some time but people are now starting to see open adoption as a preferred alternative. A study was done with a group of adoptive parents and birthmothers on their experiences with open adoption. The following pie graph depicts the study’s results.

(Adoption Media, 1995-2010)
As seen from the above pie graph, parties involved in open adoption have had very positive experiences. Birthmothers have indicated that they view open adoption in a positive light. Adoptive parents have commented that they are appreciative of having the option to approach their child’s birth family if need be.

Birthparents and adoptive families want to lessen the confusion among the adopted child. Some families may start out with a closed adoption and then transition into an open one depending on the situation. The following quote from an adoptive family is a good example of a closed adoption to an open adoption transition. Our adoption is open but it started out closed, Mark says. When I first met Mary, my daughter Lynn's birth mother, I had no idea who she really was, he admits, or that we could ever be anything to each other. I wanted a closed relationship. I didn't want Lynn to be confused. We wasted quite a few years playing hide and seek with each other. Deep down, I was so afraid that if they knew each other, Lynn would love Mary better than she loves us, I just couldn't stand to take the risk. Then Lynnie ended up in the hospital, in intensive care, and we needed Mary's information. She was more than just there for us. She was knowledgeable about life...

References: Administration for Children and Families. (2006). Adoptive family structure. Retrieved February 12, 2010, from
Adoption Media (Ed.). (1995-2010). Adoption Statistics: Open Adoptions. Retrieved March 07, 2010, from
Adoption Support and Consultation Services. (2007). Types of Adoption. Retrieved March 07, 2010, from
Berry, M. (1993). Risks and benefits of open adoption. Retrieved February 11, 2010, from
Child Welfare Information Gateway. (2003). Openness in Adoption: A Fact Sheet for Families. Retrieved February 21, 2010, from
Child Welfare Information Gateway. (2004). Impact of Adoption on Adopted Persons: A Factsheet for Families. Retrieved February 12, 2010, from
Hillside Family of Agencies. (2003). Open vs. Closed Adoption. Retrieved March 17, 2010, from
Koch, W. (2009, May 19). Struggling families look at adoption - Retrieved March 12, 2010, from
Purtuesi, D. R. (1995). Silent Voices Heard Impact of the Birthmother 's Experience Then and Now -. Retrieved March 16, 2010, from
Silber, K. (2008). Benefits of Open Adoption. Retrieved March 17, 2010, from
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