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Closed Adoption vs. Open Adoption: What's the Difference?

When it comes to adoption, the terms “open” and “closed” refer to the level of contact birth parents and adoptive parents have with one another.

When an adoption is open, it typically means that there’s an exchange of information between the parties, and the birth mother may even play a role in the child’s life. By contrast, a closed adoption typically means that contact between birth and adoptive parents is limited or non-existent, and the birth mother plays no continued role in a child’s life.

Understanding the differences between a closed and open adoption is important because your preferences determine which type of adoption you’d prefer to pursue.

What Happens During an Open Adoption?

An open adoption can involve a lot of personal contact and information-sharing between the birth parents and adoptive parents. Contact can be limited or frequent, and the information shared can include phone numbers, email addresses, health and genetic information, and more.

Both parties can benefit from an open adoption. For example, adoptive parents can benefit from having a better understanding of their child’s health risks by having access to the birth mother’s health information. This can make it easier to diagnose illnesses or prevent them by being aware of certain risk factors.

Birth parents can benefit from open adoption by choosing adoptive parents who feel “right” to them and/or remaining a part of their children’s lives after adoption. This typically means birth parents can maintain contact with their children by scheduling visits or phone calls. Such arrangements, however, don’t confer any legal ability to make important decisions for their children post-adoption.

What Is a Closed Adoption?

A closed adoption is one that doesn’t involve contact or communication between birth parents and adoptive parents. Birth parents might choose a closed adoption when they don’t intend to foster a relationship with their child after adoption. Adoptive parents can choose closed adoption when they are concerned about a birth parent’s continued presence in their child’s life.

Semi-Open Adoptions Are More Common

A third option for adoption is semi-open adoption, and it’s in common use. With a semi-open adoption, an adoption agency facilitates contact and information sharing.

That means birth and adoptive parents don’t have to have personal contact with each other but can benefit from having certain kinds of information and communication channels available. It can also mean that the birth parent can select adoptive parents they prefer but relinquish contact with their child post-adoption.

Are You Considering Adoption?

Adoption can be an exciting time for prospective parents, but it’s also a very legal affair. That means securing legal representation to help you through the adoption process and interact with agencies and birth parents can help you minimize the obstacles you can face along the way.

If you’re considering adoption, reach out to Beatriz Zyne, P.A. for assistance. Our capable and experienced attorney can guide you through the steps you’ll need to take on your journey to becoming someone’s parent.

For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact us today.