Would you like to have a relationship with your child and his or her adoptive family throughout their life? Then you may want to consider choosing an open adoption vs. closed adoption in Florida. Here’s what you should know:
In a closed adoption in Florida, there is little to no identifying information shared about birth parents with adoptive parents and their adopted child. For decades, this was common practice in adoption. Sadly, adoption was viewed as secretive at the time, and severing all contact between birth and adoptive families was falsely considered the most beneficial option for everyone involved.
However, these closed adoptions left birth parents unsure of where the child they placed for adoption was or how they were doing. Adoptees were left with no medical or social history and often had many unanswerable questions about why they were placed for adoption. The lack of information allowed to adoptees in closed adoptions made it difficult for birth and adoptive families to contact each other if one party wished to meet years later.
Nine out of 10 adoptions today are open adoptions. This signifies a healthier approach to adoptions that focuses on a mutually beneficial outcome for adoptees, birth parents and adoptive parents, and removes the antiquated social stigmas surrounding adoption.
You may not have any experience with the concept of open adoptions, or know much about birth mother rights in open adoption. Here’s what you should know about open adoptions in FL:
Open adoptions are whatever you want them to be. The level of openness lies on a scale, so some adoptions may be very open and flexible, which might include:
Exchanging email addresses, phone numbers, mailing addresses, or whatever you like so that you stay in touch most easily
Direct communication via text, phone calls, Skype, email, letters and more
Family visits when the opportunity arises
Whatever else you both feel comfortable sharing with one another
Some birth mothers request to have an adoption relationship that lies on the less-open side of the scale, somewhere in between closed and open, which is often called a “semi-open” adoption. These semi-open adoptions often include:
The first names of birth and adoptive parents
Both birth parents’ medical history (if known) to be given to the adoptee
Mediated communication through American Adoptions, such as letters, photos, emails, or whatever you’re comfortable receiving and/or sending
Every open adoption in Florida is going to be unique, because the relationship between individual birth and adoptive families is unique. Open adoption is about what makes everyone involved feel comfortable, fulfilled and loved.
There are many persisting myths surrounding how open adoptions function. Here’s the truth about open adoption in Florida:
Open adoptions allow birth family to see that their child is growing up well-cared for, in a family that loves them
Open adoptions don’t mean that birth and adoptive families are co-parenting their child
Open adoptions create an opportunity for birth parents to have a relationship with their child and their family for a lifetime
Open adoptions are not confusing for children about who their “real parents” are
Open adoptions give the adoptee an opportunity to ask birth parents questions about their adoption directly
Experts confirm that increased openness in adoptions is beneficial to the emotional wellbeing of birth parents, adoptive parents, and most importantly, the adoptee. American Adoptions stands behind this, and recommends open adoptions whenever possible.
For many of our birth and adoptive families, open adoptions have felt much like adding a new branch to their collective family tree!
PACAs are intended to remind birth and adoptive parents to honor their word and communicate the way they’d initially agreed to when entering into an open adoption together. Fortunately, both parties are usually happy to stay in touch as promised without any need for a contract.
American Adoptions counsels both birth and adoptive parents about the importance of staying true to one’s word in an open adoption. If contact is ever accidentally lost and one party is no longer able to reach the other, we’ll hold onto any correspondence intended for them for up to 18 years in case they contact us and want to get back in touch.
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