Adoption is a difficult decision to make, and anyone considering it comes to the table full of questions.

Prospective birth mothers and hopeful adoptive parents alike wonder how the process works, what an adoption agency does, where the legal process comes into play and how placement will occur. It’s also very common for the adoption specialists at American Adoptions to field questions about open adoption. In this blog, we’re specifically talking about a question we often hear from women who are considering placing their baby for adoption:

Is it okay if I want a closed adoption?

As you may know, open adoption has become increasingly common. This is a positive trend, as it moves away from stereotypes of adoption connected to shame and secrecy. But just because the movement is positive in the big-picture doesn’t mean it’s right for your specific situation. That’s why so many prospective birth mothers wonder if it is okay to want a closed adoption.

Ultimately, this is your choice. As a prospective birth mother, you are in charge of your adoption process. As you think about open adoption vs. closed adoption, here are some things to keep in mind.

Be Honest With Yourself

There are moments in life when “Fake it ‘til you make it” might apply. The adoption process is not one of those moments. This is a topic we’ve discussed in other areas — it’s important to be completely open and honest with your adoption specialist about what you do and do not want from this process.

You may feel like you’re supposed to want an open adoption. Maybe you feel like an open adoption is the right thing to do, but it is also a scary idea. You may feel unsure if an open adoption is the best way for you to move forward and find closure after the placement. Explore all your options, but at the end of the day, do what you honestly feel is the best option for your life.

To reiterate: As a prospective birth mother, you are in charge. Every situation is unique. Whatever choice is best for you, that’s the right choice to make.

Misconceptions About Open Adoption

As you try to determine what that best choice is, you’ll be thinking a lot about open adoption. There’s a good chance that when you do, you’ll actually be contemplating a host of public misperceptions about what open adoption is like.

Over the years, our adoption specialists have found that many of the fears about open adoption come from common misunderstandings. Here are some of the myths you may have heard about open adoption.

Myth: My child will resent me.

Truth: Open adoption can help a child form a positive self-identity around their adoption story. As the child comes to understand the difficult decision you made to give them the best life possible, that will build love and affection, not resentment.

Myth: Open adoption means I will still have some parenting responsibility.

Truth: Open adoption is not co-parenting. Maintaining some sort of open adoption relationship simply allows a continued connection. This takes many different forms, but no outcome involves you still carrying parental responsibility.

Myth: Open adoption will be too confusing for a child.

Truth: Yes, adoption can be confusing — but more often than not, children are open-minded, and it is actually easier than you might think to normalize adoption. Thousands of adoption triads have navigated an open adoption relationship. Children respond well to honesty and clarity. If you trust a child to understand their story and tell them the truth, they might surprise you with their response.

Benefits of Open Adoption and Closed Adoption

Every situation is unique. What is right for you won’t be right for someone else. That means it is up to you to determine which type of adoption relationship is going to be best. Here are some of the benefits to each type of adoption.

Benefits of Open Adoption

  • A chance at a continued connection
  • Forms a new, meaningful relationship
  • Helps the child better understand his/her adoption story

Benefits of Closed Adoption

  • A sense of finality to placement
  • The ability to completely move forward into a different future
  • Privacy

Talk to a Professional About Open and Closed Adoption

This is a big choice, and it’s difficult to make. If you’re still unsure whether an open or closed adoption would be better for you, you can request more free information about adoption or call 1-800-ADOPTION to speak with an adoption specialist at any time.