The Benefits of Choosing Open Adoption
What Prospective Adoptive Parents Should Know
There are several types of adoptions including open, semi-closed, and closed. There has long been debate over whether open or closed adoptions are the best choice and many couples new to the adoption process are unaware of the differences and how they might affect their future child and their family life. However, future adoptive parents can make themselves aware of the differences and truly be able to make an informed decision when it comes to adoption.
An open adoption is when the birth parents and adoptive parents are introduced for the sake of creating a relationship before, during and after the adoption process. The two sets of parents may stay in touch after the baby is born through phone calls, written letters, email, or even visits if both the adoptive and natural parents are comfortable with this.
In general, open adoption is the preferred method because the birth and adoptive parents are known to the child and involved in the child's life. This means the child grows up knowing who his biological parents are, why they gave him up for adoption, and the adoptive parents that so lovingly care for him. Researchers have studied the benefits and drawbacks to all types of adoptions and find open adoption to be best for the child simply because the child does not have to wonder where he came from or why he is in the situation. With open adoption the child will always know his roots and be able to ask any questions in order to clear up any confusion which results in a happier and healthier child with fewer psychological problems or emotional issues.
This is not to say with open adoptions the biological parents will be involved in the child's life on a day to day basis, but rather to say that the biological parents will be available or involved as much as they wish and the adoptive parents allow. The best is for the child and adoptive parents to have an open and honest relationship with the biological parents, but not mix the parenting roles so as not to confuse the child.
Closed adoptions occur when the birth parents decide they do not want to have any contact with the adoptive parents or their child once it is given up for adoption. As a result, the entire process is confidential as well as the birth parents' identities. The birth parents may also decline to receive any updates on the child in the form of photos or letters detailing the child's progress.
With a closed adoption the adoptive child has no idea who his birth parents are or what his true biological roots are, not to mention why he was put up for adoption in the first place. As a result, the child will likely have emotional and psychological problems as a result of this. When children don't know why they were put up for adoption all they can do is speculate and usually they imagine they were the problem, something was wrong with them or they were not good enough for the biological parents to want to keep them. This could not be farther from the truth, but little minds do a lot of thinking and if the answers are not clear to them their minds will create one. So, this is the drawback to closed adoptions, that is unless the child never knows he was adopted and this is not necessarily fair to the child either.
Closed adoption is really hard on the biological parents as well because they brought a child into the world and then never have any clue how the child is or what the child is doing. Of course, many potential adoptive parents believe if someone is willing to give their child up then they don't have the right to be involved in their child's life. However, if someone is giving their child up for adoption it could be due to many reasons and an open adoption allows them to take part in the child's life as much as the adoptive parents determine. Sometimes this is a photo each year and sometimes it is actual outings. This is a very small reward to give someone who is giving you their child. A closed adoption does not allow this at all whereas with an open adoption the child will at least know who his birth parents are and may be able to decide when he is older if he wants to know them or not. Regardless, a closed adoption is likely to cause confusion and emotional problems for your child whereas an open adoption can help ease this confusion a bit.
Adopt Open or Closed?
Making the choice for an open or closed adoption is certainly a difficult process because many parents want a closed adoption so they do not have to worry about their child knowing their birth parents and one day losing the child to his birth parents. These fears are normal and understandable in adoptive parents, however for the well being of your child you should educate yourself on open and closed adoptions and see all the real benefits open adoption has for your child. Once you deal with your fears concerning open adoption you will realize you have nothing to worry about and will end up with a more balanced and well adjusted child than if you choose closed adoption.
Also, once you meet the birth parents this might calm your fears a bit and you may be able to be involved throughout the pregnancy. With an open adoption your child will know that his birth parents loved him but were simply unable to care for him due to age, financial status, or fear of being able to properly care for a child. When your child realizes his birth parents made the best possible choice for his well being by placing him with his adoptive parents he will not have the emotional issues that result when adopted children come to the conclusion they were not good enough to be loved by their birth parents. In many cases this is completely wrong, but studies show that adopted children frequently have these feelings regardless of the love their adoptive family gives them.
Because of your child it is important to realize he has a connection with his birth parents and has a right to know who they are, why the gave him up for adoption, and that he was loved. Bury your fears about open adoption and one day losing your child to the birth parents and choose open adoption in order to have the healthiest, happiest and most well adjusted child possible.