Whether you are just beginning to explore your pregnancy options or have already decided to pursue adoption, there are many options available to help make your adoption plan the way you want it.
One of those options is the kind of adoption you would like to have, which varies depending on the contact, if any, you will have with the adoptive family and your child as he or she grows up. Generally, adoptions are categorized as open, closed or semi-open.
At American Adoptions, each pregnant woman we work with is able to form her own individualized adoption plan. Not only will you be able to choose an adoptive family to raise your child, but you will also have the opportunity, if you wish, to meet the adoptive family in person, speak with them over telephone or email and choose whether or not you want to continue contact once your child is placed with the family.
All waiting families working with American Adoptions are prepared, at a minimum, to send pictures and letters to the birth parents (the biological mother and father of the child) once or twice a year until the child turns 18. Pictures and letters are a great way for you to see your child as he or she grows and to share in birthdays, holidays and other important life events. It's also a great way for you to see with your own eyes that the family you chose really is providing your child with the life you envisioned.
In addition to pictures and letters, a majority of our birth parents even speak to the adoptive family they select via conference calls with our agency or meet at the hospital during the birth of the child. However, if you want a more open relationship, which could include ongoing phone calls and emails after you place your child with the adoptive family, we will work with you to find a family who will honor your wishes.
If you change your mind about how much contact you desire during the adoption process, that's OK, too. As a matter of fact, many of our adoptive families and birth parents decide they want more contact once they meet or speak to one another. If you don't want to have any contact with the adoptive family, we'll also honor that wish - we'll support whatever contact arrangement you desire. At American Adoptions it is your baby, your choice, your adoption plan.
Note: While every adoption professional has a different interpretation of what a closed, open or semi-open adoption entails, the following describes how American Adoptions defines each type of adoption.
When many people think about adoption, they envision a closed adoption in which the adoptive family and birth parents remain confidential, with no contact prior to or after the placement of the child. For many generations, it was common practice to keep adoptions closed. But today, these adoptions are very rare. Today's adoptions commonly involve some contact between the birth parents and the adoptive family before and/or after the birth of the child.
At American Adoptions, our waiting family profiles include the waiting family's first names, the states they live in and other information regarding their daily lives, hobbies, etc. Likewise, the waiting family will know your first name and any other information you wish to share with them. However, if you wish to pursue a closed adoption, and do not want to select an adoptive family or know any information about them, we will also honor this wish and assist you with this part of your adoption plan.
While many adoption professionals have varying definitions of "open" adoption, it typically means that the birth parents and the adoptive family speak prior to and even after the child is born. This may include phone calls and face-to-face visits.
Some adoptions of this nature are very open, with the adoptive family and birth parents exchanging contact information and agreeing to periodic visits as the child grows. It is also common in open adoptions for the adoptive family to mail pictures and letters to the birth parents.
Semi-open adoptions fall in between open and closed adoptions. The adoptive family and birth parents usually will know basic information about each other, such as first names and state of residence. Complete contact information, such as phone numbers and addresses, are not shared. Semi-open adoption is the most common at American Adoptions. While adoptive families and birth parents may speak to one another prior to the birth of the child, some confidentiality is maintained.
Once the child has been placed with the adoptive family, the birth parents may still stay in contact with the family via letters and pictures. However, this correspondence is handled by a third party, such as the adoption agency. American Adoptions handles all correspondence between our birth parents and adoptive families in a semi-open adoption.
Our agency also maintains the current contact information for each party. If the birth parents or adoptive family wishes to send a letter or pictures to the other party, they simply mail the package to our agency. We then repackage the letter so there is no identifying information (such as mailing address) and forward it on to the recipient. If you are unsure about whether or not you want to receive pictures and letters after your baby is born, we will be happy to hold all correspondence for you at the agency. When, or if, you decide you would like to receive the items, simply let us know and we will forward all items to you and help you maintain future correspondence.
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