Closed adoption for my baby: how does this work?

If you are considering a closed adoption for your baby, it’s important to learn more about the facts of a closed adoption.  In this article you will discover:

  • What is a closed adoption
  • Are there disadvantages to a closed adoption
  • What are the advantages of a closed adoption

With this information, you can better decide if a closed adoption is right for you.  Lets start with what is a closed adoption.

Definition: a closed adoption means that the birth mother and adopting parents don’t know each other’s identities.  It can also mean that there is little to now contact between them before and after delivery.

Is closed adoption right for me and my baby?

Every situation is different and there are many reasons why a woman would choose a closed adoption.  Here are some of the main reasons:

    • You don’t want your child reaching out to you or your family members in the future.
    • The thought of meeting your child in the future makes you uncomfortable.  You know you will not ever want such a meeting to take place.
    • The father of your baby is a violent or dangerous person who might want to cause harm to your or your child.

Some women say they want a closed adoption because they think it will be easier for them emotionally.  This isn’t always true.  You can have separation and distance to heal emotionally in an open adoption too.  (Read more about open and semi open adoption here)

How do I know if I’m making the right choice?

I believe these are some of the key downsides to a closed adoption.  Consider the following as you decide if closed adoption is the right choice for you:

  • You can’t change your mind about seeing your child again.
  • If you are worried or just curious about how your child is doing, you won’t be able to get information or photos.
  • Your child won’t have information about her or his heritage or medical history.

Unfortunately, these are difficult choices to make within a very short period of time.  Some women choose open or closed adoption at a very young age or in a crisis situation.  Talk with a trusted friend or counselor or your doctor.  Talking about adoption and finding emotional support can be very helpful as you make these choices.  I am a birth mother and I can help you talk through open vs closed adoption.  (Read my story here)

Can I still choose the adoptive parents in a closed adoption?

Yes, you can choose the adoptive parents in a closed adoption. When you work with me on a closed adoption, we will tailor your plan to your specific situation.  You can have some contact, anonymously with the adoptive parents.  I can also be in contact with them on your behalf.  If you choose a closed adoption but want future contact, here are some options to consider.  You can do any or none of this…they are just options:

  • You can choose the adoptive parents, view their profiles and information without them knowing yours
  • We can arrange for your privacy at the hospital, and you don’t have to see the adoptive parents
  • It’s possible to meet the adoptive parents on a first name basis only
  • You can have anonymous contact with the adoptive parents before and delivery and in the future via anonymous email, phone and video chat
  • I can receive and hold photos and other information until you are ready to see these materials

In some closed adoptions, the birth mother will want me to choose the adoptive parents for her.  She will want no contact at all before delivery or in the future.  We can do this too.  One thing to keep in mind if you work with me, we can always open up your adoption if you want contact in the future.

Social media and DNA testing are impacting privacy in adoptions

We all read everyday about adoptees who find birth parents and half siblings through DNA testing and social media.  This is definitely something to think about as you consider a closed adoption.  If the adoptee never knows who you are or who their biological family are, they may have a stronger desire in the future to come find you.  You may be able to avoid these surprises if you have some contact in the future.  You could share this information confidentially, and it’s possible the adoptee will respect your privacy and be satisfied with the information you’ve shared.

Is closed adoption healthy for mother and child?

Studies show that closed adoption isn’t always best for the birth parent or the child.  There are some drawbacks to a closed adoption that effect the birth mother and the adoptee.  Here are a few:

  • Birth parents might change their mind in the future and want contact
  • Uncertainty about how the baby is doing may cause depression and anxiety
  • Knowing the child is happy and thriving can help with processing grief and loss
  • Not knowing their birth parents can lead to a feeling of loneliness and lower self-esteem for a child
  • Many adoptees feel a piece is missing when they don’t know any information about their biological family
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What I think

I want you to understand the closed adoption facts so you can make the best decision for your baby.

I have an open adoption with my son and his family.  It has worked out so well for all of us that I am definitely an advocate of open adoption.  Open adoption offers flexibility for each individual situation.  I have watched my son grow through photos and updates.  We met for the first time after he was born when he was 7 but only because I wanted to.  I didn’t meet him again until he was 20.  His parents are very respectful about boundaries.

Some birth mothers are afraid of their adopted child will find them one day.  They are afraid the won’t want contact at that time.  However, in an open adoption, you will have more control over that relationship from the beginning.  This includes control over contact, so there is less of a chance that they will contact you out of the blue.  Many women choose open adoption after they learn closed adoption facts.

I also encourage you to take a look at open vs closed adoption.   Feel free to contact me with any questions you have.