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The Emotional Benefits of Open Adoption

Open adoption is the new norm. In fact, 95 percent of adoptions are now “open” in some form of the word, according to The Donaldson Adoption Institute

Open adoption means that birth parents and adoptive parents have some knowledge and information about one another. The birth parents know something about the adoptive parents and may even help choose them. Adoptive parents and their children know medical and genetic information about the birth family and other information that might help in dealing with the emotional issues that sometimes accompany adoption.

There is no true definition of open adoption. Open adoption can take many forms. In some cases, a birth mother may be given a book to look through containing photographs and descriptions of prospective adoptive parents and choose a couple or person she feels would give her baby a good home. It’s likely she may never meet the adoptive family. At the other extreme, a birth mother may meet the adoptive parents, visit their home, and have ongoing contact with the child throughout their life. 

An open adoption allows the birth family to maintain ties with the child. For birth parents who desire open adoption, it allows them to check in on how the child is doing, and can be a helpful way of affirming their decision to place their child for adoption. When your child’s birth family remains in their life in a positive and consistent way, it can be hugely impactful for the child, showing them that they are not unwanted but in fact very loved and cherished. 

Ultimately, there is no right way to navigate open adoption. How adoptive parents define “open” can vary from annual updates sent through an adoption agency to the development of close bonds, such as the birth and adoptive families celebrating birthdays and holidays together. There are so many ways to keep this channel open, but really all that matters is that is remains truly open. 

Open adoption has the power to enrich the lives of everyone involved, and means being open-hearted to the child’s emotional needs. Engaging in a positive relationship with your child’s birth family helps acknowledge those common feelings of pain and loss. An open adoption should mean that the adoptive and birth parents become the ultimate adults: always putting their child’s needs before anything else. By keeping these relationships open and honest, your mirror authentic communication to your child and give them the opportunity to speak their truth as well.  

Image via Adoptive Families.