What is open adoption?
Open adoption is most common in domestic cases in which the birth parent is making a voluntary plan of adoption for their child, and can also apply to some fost/adopt situations. "Open adoption" describes situations in which the birth family, child, and adoptive family stay in contact over time. The adoptive family may send updates about the child to the birth family, they may text or call each other, and even have visits during the year. Open adoption has been shown to have positive outcomes for birth parents, adoptive parents, and children. Birth parents report that it helps ease the grief and pain that they feel following placing a child with an adoptive family, because they are able to know that their child is happy, healthy, and thriving. Adoptees report that knowing their biological family helps answer important questions about their identity, and that in most cases, it doesn't threaten their relationship with their real (adoptive) parents. Adoptive parents report that the birth family can be a helpful resource when children want to know more about their story.
Each birth parent we work with is asked about their preference regarding future openness with the adoptive family. Many birth parents envision having regular updates and having a visit with the adoptive family every year, and other birth parents will find the idea of openness too emotionally difficult. Each birth parent should determine what is most comfortable for them and advocate for the level of openness that they desire. Similarly, adoptive families will be educated about open adoption and asked about their comfort level regarding ongoing contact with their child's birth parent. Families are encouraged to educate themselves on the topic and explore what is the best fit for them. If you do not feel that open adoption is right for your family, we will talk with you about your concerns.
In some cases, families need assistance with providing updates to the birth family. CHI can act as a mediator in those situations, keeping record of what is sent to a birth family and allowing you to keep your address anonymous. We always advocate for ensuring your child's and family's safety, which can affect some open adoptions. You will never be asked to maintain contact with a birth family it if would be unsafe for you to do so.