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Open Adoption with the Family and Your Child

How American Adoptions Encourages Open Adoption

Are you interested in getting to know your baby’s adoptive family? Do you want a relationship with your child?

At American Adoptions, this is all possible in an open adoption.

You may be familiar with the term “open adoption,” but what does it really mean? Open adoption basically refers to contact shared between you and the adoptive family, and it can look different in each adoption. For example, in some open adoptions, a woman may choose to receive pictures and letters of her child after the adoption; in other adoptions, a woman may choose to visit her child once a year.

Open adoption can have many benefits for you, your baby and even the adoptive family — but you may be wondering how to find adoptive parents for an open adoption and how you will ever come to an open adoption agreement with them.

We have good news: Open adoptions are more common than ever before, and it is up to you to decide what kind of relationship you want to have with your child and the adoptive family. Whatever you are looking for in an open adoption family, American Adoptions will work with you and them to make it happen.

You may request the following contact both before and after the adoption in your open adoption birth plan:

Before the Adoption: Getting to Know Open Adoption Families

Conference Calls – When you first choose an adoptive family for your baby, your adoption specialist will likely schedule a phone call between you and the adoptive parents to help you get to know each other better. Your adoption specialist can be on the phone call as well to offer support and comfort.

Email and Phone Number Exchange – You and the adoptive parents may email or call one another with updates and questions throughout your pregnancy and adoption process. Emails are popular because you may respond to them at your convenience.

Visits – Visits are in-person meetings between you and the adoptive parents in your hometown. They will travel to you and usually meet you over lunch or dinner, where you can get to know each other even better.

After the Adoption: Your Open Adoption Agreement

Pictures and Letters – Nearly all women choose to receive pictures and letters of their child for the first 18 years of his or her life. You can exchange these updates with the family directly or, if you’re planning to have a semi-open adoption, your specialist will explain how you'll receive your pictures and letters.

Phone Calls/Skype – You may choose to have phone calls or Skype sessions with the adoptive parents and/or your child, helping you stay involved in his or her life.

Social Media/Email – Stay connected with the adoptive family over the Internet. There are several apps available to help make frequent contact easier. You will want to talk to your adoption specialist about social media tips and etiquette in adoption.

Visits –There are many families who are open to regular visits if you want this type of post-adoption relationship with your child. In fact, all families who work with American Adoptions are ready to commit to at least one visit within the first five years after your adoption is completed. Your adoption specialist can absolutely help you find an adoptive family who still lets the birth mother visit, if that’s something you decide you want.

How to Find the Right Adoptive Parents in an Open Adoption

Because we work with so many open adoption families, we have plenty who are excited to share the types of contact that you are interested in. Our agency encourages contact between you and the adoptive family, as we believe it leads to healthier adoptions and happier lives for everyone involved. Every prospective adoptive family we show you is ready for:

  • A pre-placement conference call that gives you the chance to ask any questions you have

  • Exchanging email addresses and phone numbers for direct communication with you before and after placement

  • A personal meeting during your hospital stay and throughout the placement process

  • Sending pictures and letters directly to you for the first 18 years after your adoption

  • An in-person meeting within the first five years of placement

No matter what amount of contact you would prefer, you can find an open adoptive family that meets your needs for an adoption.

When you begin searching for adoptive parents with American Adoptions, you’ll notice we have many open adoptive parent profiles for you to choose from. But as you look through these open adoption family profiles, you may be thinking to yourself, “Which family is right for me?” It’s important to take your time and consider all of your options as you look through the different open adoption parent profiles.

You’ll know that you’ve found the right adoptive family once you see their excitement at getting to know you and welcome a new life into their home. It may take time, but your adoption specialist will help you find a family that suits your needs and meets your preferences for an open adoption.

What to Know About Open Adoption Agreements

Once you have looked through some open adoption profiles and chosen the perfect family for your baby, your adoption specialist will help you create a plan that outlines your future contact with them. This plan is sometimes referred to as an “open adoption agreement.”  

One aspect of open adoptions that birth parents and adoptive families tend to be worried about is if their open adoption agreements are legally enforceable. Most of the time, when an adoptive family and the birth parents decide to have on open adoption, the agreement is built on trust, so won’t need to write out a formal contract. Open adoption families understand the benefits of open adoption for you, their children and themselves, and they are excited about the opportunity to build a relationship with you.

Depending on your state, however, you may be able to make a legally binding open adoption contract. You’ll want to talk to your adoption attorney to understand which rules and regulations apply to your state for an open adoption. You can also look at open adoption agreement samples for examples of what to put in your open adoption contract.

To learn more about contact with the adoptive family and your child, contact an adoption specialist today at 1-800-ADOPTION or complete the following for free adoption information. You can also begin searching for open adoptive families by browsing our open adoption parent profiles here.

Information available through these links is the sole property of the companies and organizations listed therein. America Adoptions, Inc. provides this information as a courtesy and is in no way responsible for its content or accuracy.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why is American Adoptions the right adoption agency choice for many birth mothers?

American Adoptions is one of the largest licensed adoption agencies in the United States. Each year, we work with thousands of women who are facing an unplanned pregnancy and offer assistance to these women. Our large, caring staff is able to assist you seven days a week and provide you with one-on-one counseling about your pregnancy and available options.

You should choose an adoption agency where you feel completely comfortable with their services and staff. With American Adoptions, you will work with an Adoption Specialist who is on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Adoption Specialist will be your advocate and will provide support and guidance as you create an adoption plan that is right for you.

How will the family tell my child about me and the adoption when my child is older?

Each family has their own style of introducing adoption to the child. When you are matched with an adoptive family, you can ask them this question. If you would like your Adoption Specialist to discuss it for you, just let her know. He or she can share your wishes or provide good ideas from other adoptive families.

You will also be able to share what you want your baby to know about you. You can complete a keepsake booklet to share hobbies, stories, photos of you and your family and a letter to your baby. The adoptive family can provide this to your child as he or she grows older. Be as creative as you like! Some birth mothers have even knitted a special blanket as a gift to their baby or given a similar symbol of their love.

The father of your baby can fill out the birth father's keepsake booklet or write a letter too. You may have other family members who would also like to share photos or a letter to the baby. This is your opportunity to pass on your and your family's love and to share your personality, history and reasons for choosing adoption. The adoptive family will treasure whatever information you provide and will share it with the baby at an appropriate age. In most adoptive homes, the word adoption is in the child's vocabulary early on, and adoption is celebrated in their lives.

Additional Resources

Teen Pregnancy - Information for Young Women

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Do adoption terms and phrases leave you feeling confused? Learn the meaning to key adoption words and phrases with our comprehensive adoption glossary.

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