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What Is Open Adoption?

What is open adoption? | Unplanned Pregnancy

What is open adoption?

Open adoption refers to the contact the birth parents, adoptive parents, and adoptee have after an adoption placement takes place. Generally speaking, there are three categories of post-placement communication.

  1. Closed Adoption Relationships  In a closed adoption (sometimes called a confidential adoption, birth parents and adoptive families do not have contact with one another. In some cases, birth parents and adoptive families may not even meet.
  2. Semi-open Adoption Relationships  In a semi-open adoption situation, small amounts of information are exchanged. You may know each others’ names, have met once or twice before or at the adoption placement, and share letters and pictures on a schedule. In some situations, you may not have face-to-face visits or have personal contact. In these adoption arrangements an adoption professional often mediates limited correspondence.
  3. Open Adoption Relationships  Birth families, adoptive families, and the adoptee have ongoing relationships that may include visits, calls/texts, and even friendships on social media.

It’s important to remember that in all of these categories of communication, the specifics of each relationship can vary greatly. Just like meaningful relationships outside of the adoption world, open adoption relationships take communication, work, forgiveness, and giving the benefit of the doubt.

In the United States, 95% of adoptions today have some level of openness.

55% of adoptions are open or fully disclosed.
40% of adoptions are semi-open, meaning they have mediated contact usually through an agency
5% of adoptions are closed or confidential

Hear a birth mother explain how she is still involved in her daughter’s life after she placed her for adoption.

We have to be so brutally honest as birth mothers about who we are and who we think we are and what’s best for this child. Adoption is so complicated and hard and it’s painful but it’s so beautiful and amazing at the same time. / Sage, adoptee in a closed adoption and birth mother in an open adoption

Hear adoptive parents talk about why they chose open adoption for their children.

This should be one of the best relationships, or one of the relationships you work the hardest at. / Josh Redfern, Adoptive Dad, Open Adoption Advocate & Director of Social Work at Adoption.org

Hear an adoptee explain how she feels about her birth parents how she isn’t confused about who they are.

It’s really cool to have two sets of parents that love me equally. Not all kids have two sets of parents. / Eliza Jane, young adoptee in an open adoption