6 Open Adoption Facts That Everyone Should Know
The decision to pursue open adoption is a life-changing one. You have undoubtedly done a significant amount of research to get this far.
However, others in your life may not have the information they need to help support you through the process. They may even have come across misinformation that causes them to pause.
It’s important to provide the people in your life with as many open adoption facts as possible. This will help them learn about open adoption and help you to have a positive adoption experience. We should all include the following six facts in our open adoption research.
Fact: Open adoptions are highly successful.
Too many people believe that adoptions are easily overturned. This is almost never the case, particularly with open adoptions. Adoptions are open in order to allow the birth mother to communicate with you and your spouse. She will get to know you, which helps her to be secure in her decision. It is extremely rare for an open adoption to be unsuccessful.
Fact: Birth mothers rarely try to reverse open adoptions.
The laws governing adoptions vary from state to state. The length of time a birth mother has to change her mind varies from about two days after the birth of the child up to around 30 days. The time is even shorter with an older child. In most instances, the decision can’t be changed once parental rights have been terminated.
When you keep in mind that women today are choosing open adoption in spite of others in their life who may be pressuring them to parent, this makes us see the women choosing adoption today as the brave, selfless mothers they are.
Fact: Closed adoptions have lower success rates than open ones.
A biological mother who does not know the adoptive parents may repeatedly question her choices in the adoption process. She might have anxiety and nightmares that arise from not knowing who is raising the baby. There is a much higher rate of birth mothers deciding to raise the child themselves or with a family member when they have not been involved in the parent selection.
Similarly, a child of closed adoption does not grow up knowing who their birth mother or birth family is. This leads to challenges with identity and the difficult decision at age 18 or 21 about whether to find their birth mother and be in a state of “reunion”. With open adoption, the child always knows their story, it isn’t a secret.
Fact: Children in open adoptions are psychologically healthier than those in closed adoptions.
A child who is allowed to learn about or even meet the birth mother does not have to wonder and worry about the nature of the adoption. Children who have questions answered in open and honest ways are much happier and mentally healthier than those who are made to wonder about their birth families.
These children have an adoption story that includes their biological parents, extended birth family, and it helps the child understand their background and biological family history. Adult adoptees often say that they felt a sense of wellbeing growing up in an open adoption household where they were free to ask and receive answers about their adoption and birth parents.
Fact: Contact agreements are decided upon before the adoption is completed.
A post-adoption contact agreement (PACA) outlines the desired contact between the adoptive parents and birth parents, so everyone knows exactly what to expect after the adoption. Birth parents and adoptive parents choose what that relationship will look like in the future, which determines how the child will be able to interact with the birth mother or other birth family members. These agreements include what type of contact will take place, the frequency contact, and where the visits will take place if desired. They can even include the names of individuals who will be permitted to interact with and have a relationship with their child.
Fact: Adoptive parents find that open adoptions are less expensive than they thought.
No two adoptions have the exact same cost. The amount spent depends on lawyer fees, the adoption agency, and whether or not the adoptive parents provide help with medical or living expenses to the birth mother.
Agencies work with potential adoptive parents to ensure they establish a budget early in the process in order to anticipate the potential costs of each adoption.
Mardie Caldwell, C.O.A.P.
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