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“What does adoption mean to a child?”

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If You Give Your Child Up for Adoption, Can You Still Have Contact with Them?

If you’re considering adoption, you probably have many questions about the process ahead of you. However, because of the emotional complexities of placing a child for adoption, some of them may be more pressing than others:

Will I see my baby after giving them up for adoption?

If I give my baby up for adoption, can I see her as she grows up?

If you give your child up for adoption, can you still have contact with them?

Can you put your child up for adoption with visitation?

Many women inexperienced with the process of adoption wonder about what happens after they place their child with an adoptive family, so questions about post-adoption contact are common. After all, many people still think of an outdated version of secretive, closed adoptions — in which a mother and her child share no contact or information after the adoption is complete.

Fortunately, adoptions are very different today. In the majority of modern adoptions, expectant mothers can set expectations for contact with their child after they are placed with an adoptive family. This means if you give your baby up for adoption, you can see him or her again — and you can have a meaningful, positive relationship with your child as they grow up with their adoptive parents.

This process is known as open adoption.

What is Open Adoption?

Often, prospective birth mothers ask, “When you give your babies up for adoption, are you allowed to see them?” Not only are you allowed to see children you place for adoption, but this post-adoption contact is encouraged by adoption professionals. Having a relationship with your child and their adoptive parents helps your child develop a strong, positive identity as an adoptee and will be integral in answering any questions they have growing up.

But, how do you give a baby up for adoption and still keep in contact? What does this relationship look like?

At its most general, open adoption is any adoption in which a birth mother and her child’s adoptive parents share contact. Open adoption contact can occur before, during and after the adoption process, and the type of contact shared is always determined by the preferences of the mother placing her child for adoption. What kind of open adoption you want will be determined in your adoption plan, which your adoption specialist will always help you create.

With this kind of relationship, you can put your child up for adoption with visitation expectations. Your adoption specialist will help you find a family that shares your contact preferences, and they will be responsible for upholding their end of the agreement. If you give up a child, visitation rights are usually not legally enforceable — but finding the perfect family with an agency like American Adoptions helps ensure that your open adoption communication continues for years to come.

As you create your open adoption plan, you will determine what kind of contact you want. This can include:

  • Pictures and letters mediated by your adoption specialist

  • Emails and text messages

  • Phone calls and video calls

  • In-person visits

No two open adoption relationships are exactly the same. You always get to choose the contact preferences you are most comfortable with. Just know one thing: After giving your child up for adoption, you can have contact with them in the way that best suits your needs.

What is a Semi-Open Adoption?

When putting a baby up for adoption, the arrangements for the parents to see their child afterward can vary greatly and will always be handled by your adoption specialist.

Not all adoption relationships between a birth mother and adoptive parents are fully open. If you wish to maintain your privacy, but still want to see your child grow up with their adoptive family, you may consider a semi-open adoption instead.

In a semi-open adoption, your identifying information (like your last name and contact information) is kept private from the adoptive family. You will still have the right to choose parents for your child, but you do not have to meet them if you do not want to. When your adoption is complete, your adoption specialist will work with the adoptive family to make sure you receive updates, pictures and letters, according to your preferences. You may even consider using a non-identifying email address (specifically for the adoption) to communicate with the adoptive family and receive updates from them directly.

Creating a Plan for Your Open Adoption

If you are considering adoption for your baby but wondering, “If I give my baby up for adoption, can I see her or him?” knowing about the possibility of a post-adoption relationship may help you finalize this decision for your unplanned pregnancy. Many women choose adoption only after finding out about the opportunity for this post-adoption relationship — a way for a mother to receive reassurance as her child grows up that she has done the right thing for them. If you are interested in an open adoption relationship with a child after you place them with an adoptive family, American Adoptions can help.

To start creating your adoption plan and finding an adoptive family who shares your contact preferences, please call our adoption specialists at 1-800-ADOPTION.

Disclaimer
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.

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