Pictures and LettersSo you’ve heard of open adoption and you’ve heard of closed adoption, right? But have you heard of semi-open adoption?

Semi-open adoption is a fairly new idea, only having really taken off in the last couple decades. It refers to those adoptions where contact is exchanged between birth mothers and adoptive families, but identifying information remains private. Ok, that makes sense, but how does it work?

Well, in these adoptions, interactions between birth parents and adoptive families are usually mediated by a third party (ie. The adoption agency). Contact will generally be in the form of emails, phone calls and pictures and letters, all mediated by the agency. To keep identities private adoptive families will first send their photos/letters to the agency, which will then forward them on to the birth parents.

Semi-open adoptions are generally sought by adoptive families and birth parents who would prefer to maintain their privacy throughout the adoption journey. Birth parents may choose this type of adoption with the hopes that less intimate contact with their child and the adoptive parents will help them heal after placement. Adoptive families may choose this type of adoption as a way to maintain their child’s connection with his or her birth family while also protecting their privacy.

At American Adoptions, we believe that contact between birth families and adoptive families is vitally important in having a successful adoption. For this reason, we require all of our adoptive families to be willing complete a semi-open adoption.

Birth parents, adoptive parents and adopted children can all benefit from being involved in a semi-open adoption.

Birth Parents

For birth parents, a semi-open adoption allows them to see their child grow from afar. Knowing that their child is happy and healthy with their adoptive family can be a great source of healing for many birth parents.

Adopted Children

Generally, adopted children will become curious about their history at some point or another. When they have continuing communication with their birth parents they can ask questions about their history. Having this information helps adopted children to form a better sense of self and have more self-confidence as they get older.

Adoptive Parents

Maintaining contact with the birth family gives adoptive families the opportunity to ask about any medical questions that may arrive. While American Adoptions does provide adoptive families with the medical history of the birth parents, this may not always include every little detail. Should something like a food allergy or illness arise, adoptive families can ask birth parents whether there is a history of that particular allergy or illness within their family.

One important thing to remember about semi-open adoption is that openness between adoptive parents and birth parents will often change over time. As time passes and a relationship forms, you might find that contact occurs more frequently, or you might become comfortable sharing more personal information and eliminating the middle man (the adoption agency) and maintaining contact yourselves.

All adoptions are different, they all evolve over time. Whatever you’re comfortable with in your adoption, is what is right for you.