Types of Adoptions

Types of Adoptions

Three Terms, Many Options

“Types of adoptions” generally are discussed in terms of Closed, Semi-Open and Open. We use these three terms but we don’t view it as three distinct options that have hard and fast rules and boundaries.

Starting at Closed adoption, you’ll see there is no contact and very limited, if any, information exchanged between the birth family and adoptive family. As you add more and more pieces of exchanged information or contact, you reach a Semi-Open adoption. From the Semi Open adoption, as more and more contact and info is shared, you get closer to an Open Adoption. Everyone at AAU can discuss the different levels of openness with you to help determine what might be the best fit for you and your family.

The graphic below shows an example of how information and contact added moves you through the types of adoption. Keep in mind, you write your own story. You decide what are your comfortable with. We will help talk you through each piece to make your adoption plan right for you.s

CLOSED
SEMI-OPEN
OPEN
No contact. No shared names.  
Know child first name. Know adoptive family name.
Might know state living in.
 
Adoptive Family know birth family names.  
Both families meet 1-2 times before birth.  
Exchange pictures / letters through
non-identifying email or agency.
 
 All first names known. May meet with agency present.
Gifts exchanged through agency.
 Full names known. Phone numbers & addresses shared. Regular communication. May meet 1-2 times per year in a public place.
 Meet 2-4 times per year. 
  All full names & addresses known. Regular communication.
  Comfortable at each other’s homes. May celebrate events (holidays & birthdays) together.

Closed

No contact. No shared names.
Know child first name. Know Adoptive Family name. Might know state living in.
Adoptive Family know Birth Family names.
Both families meet 1-2 times before birth.
Exchange pictures / letters through non-identifying email or agency.

Semi-Open

All first names known. May meet with agency present. Gifts exchanged through agency.
Full names known. Phone numbers & addresses shared. Regular communication. May meet 1-2 times per year in a public place.
Meet 2-4 times per year.

Open

All Full names & addresses known.
Regular communication.
Comfortable at each other’s homes. May celebrate events( holidays & birthdays) together.

Types of Adoptions

What is Closed Adoption?

An adoption is considered closed if no contact or identifiable information is exchanged between the birth parent(s) and the adoptive family. When the adoption is finalized, the original birth certificate is amended to show the adoptive parents names as the parents. State laws vary but generally the original birth certificate remains sealed until the adopted child is 18 years of age.

Other Terms Used

  • Confidential Adoption
  • Secret Adoption

How Common Are Closed Adoptions?

Today, closed adoptions are much less common than in the past. In decades past, this was the only option, which is why you see people utilizing investigators and social media to find their birth parents and any other birth family.

Many birth parents are finding it easier to choose adoption if they know they will have some contact with their child.

All About U Adoptions View Point

Although Open Adoption is very popular in today’s culture, the team at All About U Adoptions understands that this option might not be right for you. Whatever adoption option you choose, All About U Adoption will support and respect that decision.

Types of Adoptions

What is Open & Semi-Open Adoption?

When you think Open Adoption, images of weekly phone calls and the birth family and the adoptive family spending holidays and birthdays together may start to pop in your head. Although, if both sides agree to this, there is nothing wrong with this arrangement, there are other levels of arrangements that can be made.

You may have also heard of a Semi-Open adoption being a mix of open and closed adoption. All of these explanations may leave your more then semi-confused.

The day-to-day living of open adoption OR semi-open adoption can best be described as a continuum. On one end you have Closed Adoptoin. On the other end you have Open Adoption. In the middle you find Semi Open Adoption. Your adoption agreement could fall anywhere in that continuum.

How Common Are Open & Semi-Open Adoptions?

In today’s society, open adoption and semi-open adoption is typically the norm. In some cases, the birth family may have a lot of contact before the adoption happens. You can chose if you want to continue that contact or you may prefer some space. If that’s what the birth family needs, that’s OK. The door can always be left open for contact in the future.

Open Adoption History

Open adoption started becoming popular in the 1970’s and became the norm in the 1990’s. Many believe this is when open adoption was started. However, birth families and adoptive families working together to adopt children was common until around the 1930’s when closed adoptions became standard.

In the 1930’s a social belief took shape that families should strive to present themselves as biological families. It was also believed it would be easier on the birth parents and adopted child if they could just “move on”. In reality, birth parent(s) AND adopted children were left with unanswered questions and unresolvable emotions. Once the negative stigma of a child being born out of wedlock lessened, open adoptions became more prevalent.

Considerations

  • If you want to see pictures of your child, how often would you like to receive them?
  • Do you want to see your child in person with his/her adoptive family? If so, how often?
  • Do you want your child to know your extended family (your parents, grandparents, other children you might have)?
  • Would you like the adoptive family to send you short stories about the events in your child’s life?
Questions?

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