Open Or Closed - What Type Of Contact Will You Have With The Adoptive Family?

If you are thinking about placing a baby up for adoption, one of the first questions that you must consider is exactly how much contact do you want to have with the adoptive family. While some birth parents think that it would be easier for everyone involved if they have no contact at all, other parents feel differently. There are actually three levels of contact that you will be able to choose from. Here are a few pros and cons of the two that are at either end of the spectrum:

Closed Adoption/No Contact

A closed adoption which may also be referred to as a confidential or secret adoption means that once you place your baby for adoption, you will not have any contact with the baby or the adoptive family. The adoption records concerning the birth parents are sealed and if this is arranged prior to the birth of the child, the name of the birth father is never recorded on the birth certificate. The adopting family may be provided with non-identifying information such as your medical history and physical characteristics. This type of adoption can only be performed at birth or with a really young child. There are some advantages to this:

  • Privacy for both families
  • Sense of closure
  • Avoidance of confrontation

There are also cons:

  • Lack of medical history
  • Sense of guilt
  • Feelings of abandonment
  • Propensity for depression
  • Loss of control

Open Adoption

When you choose to be involved in an open adoption, which is also referred to as a fully disclosed adoption, you will be able to communicate directly with the adoptive parent throughout the child's life. This can be a great option for children of all ages, but can really be advantageous with older children. 

The frequency of contact and the information that is shared is usually dictated by the adoptive family through the use of a contact agreement. This written agreement spells out the terms and conditions of the contact.

There can be many advantages to an open adoption. Some of these are:

  • The ability to meet and talk to the adoptive parents
  • Being able to maintain a relationship with your child as they age
  • A diminished sense of guilt and shame
  • Ability to directly explain your decision to place your baby up for adoption
  • Ability to share medical information 

There are also cons to this arrangement:

  • The adoptive families may not want to have as much contact as they have had in the beginning
  • Adoptive families may withhold information
  • The child may feel like they have to choose sides if the two of you disagree
  • You may disagree with the way the child is being raised and more

You may quickly realize that sometimes not knowing something is better than having more information that you can't change.

Placing a baby for adoption is never an easy decision. It takes a really special person to be able to make the decision on what would be best in their child's life. Just know that once you make this decision, you will have to decide what type of contact you would like to have.