Open adoption is the best way to allow a child to have contact with his or her birth family without creating confusion or tension. That said, open adoption is not a form of co-parenting – the adoptive parents have full parental custody of their child. Simply put, open adoption allows the adoptive and birth families to share identifying information and contact one another during and after the adoption placement.
Open adoption is based on the communication level that the adoptive and birth families agree upon, whether it is emails, texts, phone calls, social media or face-to-face visits. Here we look at the benefits of open adoption for the child, the adoptive families, and the birth families.
Advantages of an Open Adoption For the Child
From the child’s perspective regarding an open adoption, there is no mystery involved about who they are or where they came from. They know who their birth parents are (or at least who the birth mother is) and have access to information about themselves. As a result, they can develop a better sense of their identity. The child is also less likely to feel “unwanted,” as open adoptions explain to a child that they were given a new family because their birth parent(s) wanted them to have the best possible life and opportunities. This helps the child avoid feelings of abandonment. They also can be more accepting of the reality of their lives instead of living in a fantasy world they create about themselves.
Advantages For the Adoptive Family
In an open adoption, the adoptive family is chosen by the birth parents, providing a feeling they have a right to be the parents, instead of having the child become a member of their family based on default. They have most all the information they need about the child now and into the future, so they understand where their child came from, as well as potential health risks that might arise. This understanding encompasses the child’s genetic component related to personality, temperament, and interests, etc.
In addition, at times, adoptive families feel helpless when faced with questions from their adopted child. Through open adoption, if they don’t have the answers, they can simply contact the birth family and see if they can help shed some light on the situation. As a result, the entire open adoption process removes some of the fear of the unknown that the adoptive family might have when adopting their child.
Advantages For the Birth Parents
The most important thing for birth parents is to know that their child really is okay and that they can see first-hand that their child is happy and doing well. By maintaining contact with their child, they reaffirm they made the right decision so they can continue to move forward in life without feeling guilty. Birth parents can also feel a sense of relief in the grief process because they have the ability of seeing their child grow. When face-to-face visits occur, this allows the birth family the opportunity to provide proof of their love with concrete demonstrations in the special moments shared with their child.
To speak with an Adoption & Beyond adoption coordinator today, call us at 913-217-0282 or contact us.
Interested in learning more about The Ultimate Guide to Adopting a Child? Check out our entire hopeful adoptive parents guide here.
Interested in learning more about Placing Your Child for Adoption in Kansas and Missouri? Check out our entire expecting parents guide here.