While open adoption is becoming more understood and desired among birth parents and adoptive families, time to time we still are asked by birth mothers, “Can I have a closed adoption?”
The simple answer: Yes, a woman can create a closed adoption for her child.
However, after learning more, it’s common for a woman to at least want to know the names of her baby’s adoptive parents or to speak with them before the adoption takes place. That’s why a conversation is needed to find out how she wants the adoption to go.
In an open adoption, you can be as involved the process as you want. If desired, you may choose your baby’s adoptive family and get to know them, spend time with your baby at the hospital, and stay in touch after the adoption takes place. It’s up to you; you have a say in every step.
Whether you want an adoption without contact or to have an on-going connection after the adoption, open adoption means you decide how things go. Here is a look at what usually happens when a woman asks about closed adoption:
Kara: Can I have a closed adoption?
Lifetime: Yes, we can help you make a closed adoption plan. May I ask you a few questions to find out what you’re looking for?
Kara: That’s fine.
Lifetime: Would you want to choose the adoptive parents for your baby or at least know their names and what they are like?
Kara: Yeah, I think I’d like to choose the parents. Could I talk with them and tell them why I’m doing adoption? I want to make sure my baby knows I love him but couldn’t do this on my own.
Lifetime: Yes! The adoptive parents would LOVE to talk with you and learn as much as you’d like to share with them. You can also meet them if you want.
Kara: I’m not sure…maybe at the hospital after he’s born. It would be good to see them in person there.
Lifetime: They would love to meet you if you want. Open adoption is different for every woman; it’s really about what you want for your child, how you want it to go. What made you ask about closed adoption?
Kara: I just want my child to be loved and to know he has parents that accept him like he is their own. I worry if I stay in touch it would be confusing for him or that it would be too hard for me.
Lifetime: I understand, Kara. Those are heartfelt reasons for adoption and it’s obvious you care about your baby. These days adoptive parents embrace their family’s adoption story…your child will grow up knowing you loved him. Your baby can know you and still know his mom and dad are the parents you chose for him. Sometimes women don’t know how they feel until they find the right adoptive family. It’s ok if you aren’t sure about contact after adoption at this point.
Kara: Thanks. I would like them to know how to reach me if needed or if my son had questions when he’s older.
Lifetime: It’s totally up to you what feels right and best for you and your son. It’s ok if you decide later on if you’d want photos or to talk with them. The adoptive parents are ready for open adoption, at your comfort level; it’s really up to you.
Kara: OK! That’s good to know I could decide later if I want to know how he’s doing. How do I get started?
Lifetime: Let’s talk a bit about your pregnancy and what you’re looking for in the adoptive parents. Then we can send you a custom packet to get started…
If you’re thinking about adoption, call to talk about your questions or how you’d like it to go. Learning more about adoption is the best way to decide what you want to do. Call anytime: 1-800-923-6784 or chat online at LifetimeAdoption.com.
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.