Open adoption is a relatively new concept.  Understanding open adoption is an important part of making your adoption plan. Many women who are thinking about making an adoption plan don’t realize that closed adoptions are less common today.  A closed adoption is where the birth mother doesn’t know or choose the adopting parents.  She may have little to no contact with the adoptive family, and her baby, before and after the baby is born. Many women who think they want a closed adoption end up choosing open adoption.  This is because they didn’t totally understand what an open adoption was.  This article focuses on understanding an open adoption.

Definition of open adoption

Open adoption means the birth mother chooses and knows the identity of the adopting parents

Birth mother Jillian and her son, the day he was born

Open adoption means, at a minimum, that the birth mother knows the identity (usually the first and last names) of the adopting parents. The adopting parents also know the identity of the birth mother. The birth mother chooses the adopting parents and has access to information about them.  This may includes where they live, how long they’ve been married, if they have any other children, and any health issues they might have. For some, that’s all the information they have.  This is still an open adoption.

Typically, an this type of adoption will also include contact between the birth mother and the adopting parents. This can be as little or as much as the birth mother and adopting parents want. Open communication is really important as you get to know each other and build your relationship.

Open adoption after everyone goes home

Contact after the baby is born and goes home with the adopting parents is also typical in this type of adoption. How much contact you have and what that contact looks like is up to the birth parents and the adopting parents. Contact can include phone calls, text messages, photos, video chats and in person visits.  It’s critical that everyone is honest and open about the type of contact they want before deciding to move forward with the adoption plan. The success of the adoption throughout the lives of everyone involved, including the adoptee, is based on this honesty and trust.