Closed vs Open Adoption: What Are the Main Differences?

Texas Adoption Center can help you navigate this critical issue.

Open adoptions often include: 

Exchange of information — Once matched, adoptive families and birth mothers can exchange last names, personal email addresses, and other information to stay in touch. 

Pre-placement communication — The birth mother and adoptive family will likely communicate via email and phone before the baby is delivered. The adopted family generally visits the birth mother. 

Post-placement contact agreements 

The birth mother and adoptive family can negotiate the birth mother’s connection with the child and how often they’ll talk. 

Parents Adopting 

The entire adoption triad benefits from open adoption. The adoption triad’s open communication benefits the adopted dhild, who may ask their biological mother questions. 

Open adoptions are promises to birth parents, not merely relationships. Parents should respect their contact agreement over time. Many adoptive families form close bonds with their children’s biological parents and consider them family. 

Birthparent Considerations 

Open adoptions let birth parents choose their adoption plans. They will always know if they choose the correct family and how their child is doing. Birth parents can meet the adoptive family in an open adoption, which eases the adoption choice for many. 

Importantly, birth parents will meet their child. This provides birth parents the chance to discuss adoption with their child and give them both peace of mind. 

Closed adoption 

Closed adoptions are confidential: 

No identification – In closed adoptions, birth mothers and adoptive families may temporarily communicate without identifying information. 

Mutual privacy – An adoption consultant will mediate any information exchange, such as medical documents, to protect the birth mother and adoptive family. After the child is born, there will be no visits, letters, or photographs. If the birth mother desires them, an adoption agency may keep images or letters. 

Families Adopting 

Closed adoptions allow adoptive parents to avoid a problematic relationship with the biological mother. Some parents worry that the birth family will confuse their child or that the birth mother may want to co-parent or want her child back. 

Closed adoptions reduce the chance of a bad connection but also the possibility of a good one. Biological moms cannot recover their children, yet knowing their birth mothers might help adopted children understand their adoption. 

Hopeful families should also remember that few birth moms choose closed adoption. Closed adoptions can significantly lengthen the wait period. 

Birthparent Considerations 

Closure or avoiding the emotional strain of seeing someone else raise their child are common reasons for closed adoption. Birth mothers are the only ones who can make the correct adoption decision for their condition. 

While adoptive ties can alter, increasing contact is harder than losing it. A birth mother can end an open connection at any moment if she wants space. If a closed adoption birth mother desires greater contact, she must negotiate with the adoptive family. Thus, a birth mother considering closed adoption must be certain. 

Adoption Relationships 

Semi-open adoption is an alternative to open adoption. Semi-open adoption is a terrific way to customize an adoptive partnership. Semi-open adoptions vary, but they usually entail contact without identifying information and occasional letters and images. 

Open adoptions benefit everyone in the adoption triad, especially the adoptive child.