Open adoption is an alluring option for many women who are pregnant and either cannot or do not want to raise their child. It may promise the birth mother contact with her child, among other things, but it is important to know that once you have relinquished your parental rights all of the promises made to you can go out the door.
A birth mother considering adoption for her child can choose the type of adoption she wants: closed, open or semi-open.
In a closed adoption, “there is no interaction of any kind between the birthmother and the prospective adoptive families. There is no identifying information provided to either the birth families or the adoptive families,” according to The American Pregnancy Association.
But photos may still be exchanged in closed adoptions, or you could send information back and forth through a third party, states iChooseAdoption.org.
An open adoption is a birth mother’s choice to have contact with her child and with the adoptive family. “Contact may include letters and photographs, phone calls, or visits – whatever you and the adoptive family are comfortable with,” according to iChooseAdoption.org.
In a semi-open adoption the birth mother and birth family interact through a third party, usually without revealing their identities, according to the American Pregnancy Association. “In most cases, the interaction includes letters or cards; however, in some cases, there may be non-identifying e-mails or visits hosted by the adoption professional,” it adds.
Before choosing any of these options, you should be as certain as possible and understand what each type of adoption means.
“As the birth mother, you are the legal parent and can change your mind about placing your child up for adoption at any time before you sign the legal adoption forms,” states About Adoptions.
Have you ever heard “Don’t sign anything until you have read it?” In a matter involving so many lives and such an important decision, it is imperative that you know what you sign. When you sign off your legal rights to your child, you cannot change your mind later. An open adoption might seem like you have a say in the child’s life but the reality of it is that you don’t, legally.
Some women think than an open adoption will allow for the best of both worlds, giving the child a good home while keeping him or her in their lives but after the adoption is finalized, it is up to the adoptive parents to decide how involved you can be in the child’s life.
Sure, they’ll send you a picture here and there but you cannot visit your child unless they allow it. Adoptive parents may promise you the world but think of them like a man who’s trying to date you, he’ll tell you what you want to hear and be on his best behavior -- until you’re sold.
“Before you make any decisions or make an adoption plan, it would be in your interest, and in the best interest of your child, to seek counseling. In many cases it is helpful to receive objective input from a trained professional, and to learn as much as you can about adoption. You will then be in a better position to make an informed decision about your future and the future of your child,” warns the National Council for Adoption.
Adoption is a great option for many families, you can save a life and perhaps allow for the best one possible, but in making your decision don’t forget about yourself. What will you be happiest with not only now, but in the future?
Closed adoption, semi-open adoption. American Pregnancy Association. Web. November 2, 2011.
Closed adoption. iChooseAdoption.org. Web. November 2, 2011.
Putting a Child Up for Adoption. About Adoptions. Web. November 2, 2011.
Pregnant? Thinking About Adoption? National Council For Adoption. Web. November 2, 2011.
Malu is an editorial intern with EmpowHER and is studying multimedia journalism at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
Edited by Jody Smith