How do closed and open adoptions differ?

Individuals and couples who are ready to adopt a child have several things that they have to think about when they’re getting ready for this process.

While it’s easy to become lost in technical matters, e.g., completing the home study, people who are embarking upon this process also have to think about the type of adoption they want – open or closed.

Open versus closed adoption

In the past, most adoptions were closed. This means that there wasn’t any identifying information shared between the birth family and the adoptive parent(s). Some closed adoptions included health histories and similar points, but nothing that could be used to identify the birth family.

Recently, open adoptions have become more common. These adoptions enable the birth family and the adoptive family to share information with each other. In some cases, the lines of communication remain open once the child is adopted. This enables the birth family to watch the child grow up.

In open adoptions, the families work together to determine how much and what types of contact are acceptable. This can be as little as an update email around the child’s birthday to as involved as the birth family getting to spend time with the child regularly.

There are many factors that go into the decision about the type of adoption a family wants to use. Making sure you discuss this with your attorney prior to agreeing to the adoption so that you can craft the agreement to use with the birth parent. In many cases, you can alter this agreement as necessary as the child grows so that you’re able to do what’s in the child’s best interests.