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