Open adoption today gives you lots of choices, including the ability to hand-pick the adoptive parents for your baby. It also lets you choose how much you’d like to stay in touch with them after the adoption placement, and how many updates you’d like on your child.
If you’re thinking about making an adoption plan, you might be wondering things about open adoption like:
“How do I decide how much future contact is best?”
“What happens if I say I want contact, but then after the adoption happens I decide I don’t?”
Keep reading to learn more about your choices of future contact in open adoption!
Some birth mothers we’ve helped have requested a closed adoption. Some chose a semi-open adoption, which would be getting letters and pictures and also you’d meet the family. Others are requesting much more open adoptions where in addition to getting letters and pictures and talking to the family on the phone, they’re actually getting together and meeting maybe once or twice a year.
It’s definitely your choice how much future contact you’d like. Just share what you’re hoping for with your Adoption Coordinator at Lifetime, and she’ll send you adoptive family profiles that fit what you’d like. Some women feel more comfortable having lots of contact and others are fine with just getting letters and pictures. Then again, some just want to meet the family at the hospital and to feel secure in knowing that their baby is going to have a good life.
What If I Want More (or Less) Contact Later On?
Many women we’ve helped thought they wanted to stay in touch afterward, but then once the adoption happened they felt differently. It’s not that uncommon of a thing to happen. If it does, Lifetime can help you leave your options open. A birth mother might say something to us like, “you know what, I just decided I don’t need any contact. I’ve met the family and I feel very comfortable with them. I kind of want to move on and I don’t need to have any contact.”
We’ve seen the opposite happen too. If a birth mother initially said she didn’t think she’d be comfortable keeping in touch afterward, she might think a year or so later, “I’m really curious about how my baby is doing and about the family that I helped to put together.” Your open adoption could still go in that direction. The amount of contact changing over the years is a really good thing to think about and talk over with the adoptive family. Keep the lines of communication open with the adoptive family during your match, and you’ll develop a relationship with them to where you feel comfortable asking for more contact.
Your desire for an open adoption might change after a year or so. Lifetime will remain available to you, should you decide that you might want to get a letter, picture, or an update. You just need to let us know, and then we can do that for you.
Resources to Help With Your Decision on Future Contact
Lifetime wants you to feel comfortable with how much contact you get after the adoption happens. We have resources available for you to help you with the decision about future contact. You can talk to a peer support person; another woman who has chosen adoption. They can share about what they had experienced with contact. So, that’s a really good thing to take advantage of. There’s also phone counseling available to help you sort through this.
We’re available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. So, whenever you have a question or a concern and want to talk something over, we’re here to help you with that!
Just call Lifetime at 1-800-923-6784.
Mardie Caldwell, C.O.A.P., is nationally recognized as an expert on open adoption. A Certiﬁed Open Adoption Practitioner (C.O.A.P.), Caldwell is the founder of Lifetime Adoption Center, established in 1986. She has assisted in over 2,000 successful adoptions and was one of the ﬁrst adoption professionals on the Internet.
Caldwell’s life work is dedicated to educating and helping birth parents find the right adoptive parents for their child. She spreads the word about modern adoption through speaking appearances, webinars, online resources, and as a podcast show host.
She has written several award-winning books, including So I Was Thinking About Adoption, the first book of its kind. There are many reasons women choose adoption, and this short book is a comprehensive resource to make the best plan for you and your baby. Caldwell wrote So I Was Thinking About Adoption as a handy guide to the details of the adoption process.
Caldwell has made over 150 media appearances, including ABC News, CBS News, Larry King Live, CNN Headline News, NBC’s The Today Show, CNN’s The Campbell Brown Show, NBC News, KGO Newstalk Radio, CNN’s Black in America II, MSNBC, Fox, PBS, BBC, and Dr. Laura.