Open Versus Closed Adoption

When deciding which path of adoption is best for you, it is best to be aware of the advantages and disadvantages associated with the two main types of adoption: open adoption and closed adoption.

These two designations of adoption serve as broad categories of child adoption and in fact, there is a wide range of child adoption processes available to parents looking to adopt a child:

  • confidential or closed adoption, in which the files of the birth parents are sealed
  • semi open or mediated adoption, in which there is contact between the birth parents and adoptive parents, but which is mediated by an attorney or caseworker
  • open or fully disclosed adoption, in which both sets of parents and the child have direct communication

Up until quite recently, adoptions in the United States were closed; however, open adoptions are now increasingly on the rise, a trend that is linked to the growing popularity of international adoption.


Open Adoption

One of the advantages of open adoption is that allows both the birth parents and the adoptive parents greater control over the adopting process.

In addition, the child has access to and often knowledge of his heritage, relatives and ancestors, meaning that he does not experience the loss of a relationship that is associated with closed adoption.

However, because of this, the child will usually be very curious about being adopted, meaning that he will likely want to establish a relationship with his birth parents. This can create worry and uncertainty for the adoptive parents, who may feel their role as parents is being threatened. Also, conflict may arise with regard to how the child may be raised, which can sometimes be rooted in distinct cultural and religious traditions. In order to minimize such conflict, communication between the adoptive and birth parents is key.


Closed Adoption

One of the benefits of closed adoption is that because there is no contact with the birth parents, adoptive parents generally feel more secure in their role as parents.

However, one of the disadvantages of closed adoption is that the child may feel rejected or unwanted by his birth parents, which can lead to severe emotional problems, such as self-esteem issues or behavioral problems. Paradoxically, this feeling of being unwanted by her birth parents can put a strain on a child’s relationship with her adopted parents. In addition, an adoptive child may feel out-of-touch with his heritage, leading to a sense of rootlessness.

When deciding between closed or open adoption, it is always in the best interest of your family to be fully aware of the pros and cons associated with each adoption process, while keeping in mind that while each process will have its drawbacks, the most important thing is to give your child a loving, supportive home in which to grow.

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