“Open adoption” is a well-known and often-used term when talking about adoption, but what does open adoption really mean?
Because a birth mother has the freedom to choose so many aspects of an adoption, no two adoptions are ever quite the same. This is why it is so difficult to label whether an adoption is an “open adoption” or not. Would we call an adoption where the birth mother only receives pictures and letters an “open adoption?” If so, what do we call an adoption where the birth mother has a personal relationship with her child well into the future?
Thus, there are certainly many different types of open adoption, which is why it’s sometimes better to look at open adoption on a scale of 1-10 with 1 being fully closed and 10 being fully open. Most adoptions fall somewhere in the middle, with minimal contact shared between both parties, and picture and letter updates sent to the birth mother throughout the adoptee’s childhood. Some agencies refer to these adoption relationships as “semi-open adoptions,” with the exchange of non-identifying information and limited contact.
The infographic below further outlines this scale:
More than 9 out of every 10 women we work with would prefer some future contact with their child, so American Adoptions requires that its adoptive families be open to at least a semi-open adoption. To learn more about contact in adoptions, visit the following articles on our site.
For Adoptive Families:
- Open Adoption – A Brief History of Open vs. Closed Adoption [Video]
- What is Open Adoption?
- The Benefits of Contact with the Birth Parents [Video]
- Picture and Letter Correspondence with Birth Parents
- Tips for Sending Picture and Letters to Birth Parents
For Birth Parents: