FAQ re-do Q6 — The Bump

FAQ re-do Q6


6. Open or closed adoption? How do you choose? Pros/cons of each


Re: FAQ re-do Q6

  • Increasingly in the US, domestic adoptions are open. Studies have shown that open adoption is beneficial to all members of the adoption triad (adoptees, adoptive family, birth family). Some closed adoptions do still occur. A majority of international adoptions are closed. Foster-adoptions tend to be closed due to the nature of TPR being involuntary, but open foster-adoptions do occur.

    If you're planning on adopting domestically, you'll likely be expected to have some level of openness. Soapbox time!

    Openness in adoption is NOT co-parenting. And it can mean a LOT of different things. On the semi-open side, it can mean letters and pictures sent to birth families, through a third party, on a set schedule (eg, once per year). On the very open side, it can mean visiting often and knowing each other's last names, addresses, and visiting each other's homes. And there are lots of in-betweens: a couple of visits a year at a neutral location, exchanging e-mails and texts but no visits, etc.

    /end soapbox

    The best way to decide is to research what open adoption really means and if it's something that could work for your family.


    Birth family knows their child is happy, healthy, and loved
    Adoptive family has a resource for questions their child may have about their background
    Child has a connection to their biological family, which can be helpful emotionally as well as knowing medical history, etc.


    If the birth family is unstable (drugs, violence, imprisonment), open adoption may be harmful to all involved
    Not really a con, but expectations should be set on some level so that everyone is on the same page as to the level of openness and how often contact will occur

  • We adopted internationally for many reasons, one of which was that my husband wasn't comfortable with the idea of an open adoption.  Since then, we've completed two separate closed adoptions from Peru (one in 2010 and one in 2012), begun one birthmother search and initiated contact with the police officers that first found my other son.

    What I'm getting at is that we learned, the hard way, that our children are connected to their birth families for life.  No matter how hard the facts of their past, the people from whom they came will always be a part of them, and it's much easier for them to understand and accept the circumstances of their adoptions and lives if they know as much as possible about where they came from.  We often make the mistake of thinking we are protecting our children from the less than desirable parts of their past, when in reality, we are only shielding ourselves from that part of their lives.  The truth is that our children lived it; there is no protecting them, just helping them cope, heal, and understand as best we can.

    Part of adopting is agreeing to take a child's pain unto yourself, and it begins with birth families and their histories.
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