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Semi Open Adoption Pros & Cons

semi open adoption pros consMany women want a semi-open relationship with the adoptive family and their baby.  For these women, semi-open adoption may be the best choice.

There are three types of adoption: open adoption, semi-open adoption, and closed adoption.  However, there are pros and cons to all three.  One size usually doesn’t always fit all.  This article focuses on the pros and cons of semi-open adoption.

What Exactly is a Semi-Open Adoption?

In a semi-open adoption, the birth parents and the adoptive parents know each other’s identities.  They may not have direct contact with each other.  Semi-open adoption is also called mediated adoption because a third party, or mediator, coordinates all of the contact.

Here are some things that typically describe a semi-open adoption:

  • Birth parents and adoptive parents don’t have to meet each other
  • All contact is coordinated by a third party mediator
  • Either the birth mother or adoptive parents may initiate contact through the mediator
  • Birth parents don’t have visits or direct contact with the adoptee
  • The parties may decide in the future to close the adoption.

Pros of Semi-Open Adoption

Semi-open adoption can work really well.  Many women want semi-open adoption because it protects their privacy.  Here are the pros of a semi-open adoption:

  • You don’t share all of your identifying information which protects your privacy
  • Birth parents can see their child grow and thrive with the adoptive family
  • Adoptive parents can access medical and other family history information
  • Adoptees can maintain contact with their birth parents in the future

Cons of Semi-Open Adoption

Before you decide if semi-open adoption is right for you, consider the potential disadvantages.  The most significant disadvantage is that you must rely on a third person to stay in contact.  A semi-open adoption may become a closed adoption if:

  • The parties lose contact with the mediator
  • An agency or facilitator goes out of business or retires
  • You’ve lost contact and can’t find the other party

An Example of When Semi-Open Adoption Makes Sense

A semi-open adoption makes the most sense when everyone wants to protect their privacy.  This is usually at the request of the birth mother.

In my experience, birth mothers choose semi-open adoption because they don’t want their family and friends to know about the adoption.  If you have limited identifying information about each other, then it’s not likely that someone show up on another’s doorstep in the future.  Everyone can heal and move forward.  This is because they know that there won’t be any surprise visits or contact by the other, including the adoptee, in the future.

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What a semi-open adoption looks like in real life

semi open adoption real lifeHow do you protect your privacy in a semi-open adoption?  It’s pretty easy.  Here’s how it works:

  • Set up a confidential/anonymous email address and social media page
  • Create a privacy focused hospital plan
  • Plan that the adoptive parents will pick up baby at the hospital after you are discharged
  • Make sure your private information is removed from medical records
  • Continue communicating through anonymous email and social media
  • Make sure the mediator always has your current contact information

It’s Your Baby, It’s Your Adoption Choice

It’s your decision to have an open, semi-open, or closed adoption.  Make sure you are choosing adoptive parents who want the same type of adoption as you.  Remember that a semi-open adoption can become closed.   I recommend choosing the option that gives you what you want but still gives you options.  Open adoption is the most flexible, semi-open a little less flexible, and closed adoption most inflexible.

If you still aren’t sure which option is right for you, explore my site for more information.  You can also call, text or email and we can explore it together!

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Are you pregnant and thinking about adoption for your baby? I can help. You can send me your questions about adoption or ask me to send you more information. Your communication with me is always confidential, and you’re never under any obligation to do an adoption. I’m here to help, not to pressure you or tell you what to do.


Megan Cohen, Birth Attorney

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