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Deciding to adopt a child or place a child for adoption is the first of many decisions you’ll make during the adoption process. You’ll need to choose an adoption agency, and the birth mother will choose an adoptive family, at which point that family can accept or decline the match. However, before getting matched, both biological and adoptive parents need to decide if they want a closed, semi-open, or open adoption.

Each type of adoption comes with advantages and disadvantages; certain families may be drawn to one over another. This is what you need to know about all three types of adoption, and what types of families may benefit from each one.

Closed Adoptions

Also called a confidential adoption, in this situation there is no contact between birth parents and adoptive parents. Adoptive parents are given only certain medical information about the birth mother, and it is not possible to identify the birth mother based on this info.

Closed adoptions are no longer as common as they used to be; with the internet and social media, it’s hard to keep secrets of any kind. However, there are some people who might prefer a closed adoption including:

  • A birth mother who wants to place the baby in a loving home and move on with her life.
  • A birth mother who has kept her pregnancy and the adoption a secret; an open adoption would likely result in others finding out about the arrangement.
  • Adoptive parents who don’t want to deal with having a third (and possibly fourth) parent involved in the upbringing of the child.
  • Adoptive parents who are concerned about a biological mother’s history (whether it includes drugs, criminal issues, or something else) and don’t want the child to be exposed to it.

Semi-Open Adoptions

This popular choice offers some benefits from both the closed and open adoption worlds – biological and adoptive families retain some privacy, yet it is possible to contact each other easily if the birth mother would like to hear about the child’s life, or if the child eventually would like to meet the birth mother. Contact between the two parties is handled through the adoption agency rather than directly.

In semi-open adoptions, it’s common for the adoptive and biological parents to meet before the birth, and sometimes the adoptive parents are able to be there for the birth of the child, but last names are not shared. Letters and photos can be exchanged over the years through the adoption agency, and if either family would like an adjustment to the arrangement, perhaps to permit greater contact, that can easily be discussed.

These are some of the families who might prefer a semi-open adoption:

  • A birth mother who would like to carry on with her life, but is still curious about how the child is doing.
  • Adoptive parents who would like to know how to contact the birth mother easily in the likely event that the child wants to meet her.
  • Adoptive parents who want the child to know a bit about the birth mother over the years without having the birth mother closely involved in the child’s life.

Open Adoptions

Every open adoption is a little different. but the exact plan is carefully arranged and agreed upon by both families. Some families simply exchange letters; others have regular visits as the child grows. In some cases, the birth mother may even remain an active part of the child’s life.

Like semi-open adoptions, this type of arrangement is subject to change as the years go by and the families recognize the changing interests and needs of the child.

These families may be best suited to an open adoption arrangement:

  • A birth mother who can’t provide the resources to raise a child, but still wants to have a relationship with him or her.
  • A birth mother who wants to be easily contacted when the child wants to meet her.
  • An adoptive family who believes the more open, the more honest, and wants the child to know the birth mother.
  • An adoptive family with a broad definition of “family” who want to include the birth mother in some capacity in the raising of the child.

After careful consideration of your circumstances, your preferences, and the needs of the child, you’ll come to an ideal solution, and you can rest assured there’s a birth mother or an adoptive family who feels the same way you do. When you find each other, you’ll be giving one special child an incredible gift, no matter which type of adoption you choose. If you have any questions regarding closed, semi-open, and open adoptions, please contact us. Our amazing and experienced caseworkers are well versed in all three options.

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