What is an Open Adoption? – It’s All About Your Choices

by | May 4, 2023 | Birth Parent Blog

If you’re pregnant and not ready to become a mom, you might be thinking about adoption and finding an adoptive parent or parents for your baby. Or maybe you’re struggling to make ends meet and want to provide your child with more than you can offer right now. Adoption can be a positive, loving choice. And many women prefer what’s called an “open adoption” because it gives them more control over the entire process. So right now, you may be wondering, “What is open adoption?” For a quick overview of open adoption and the choices it gives you, check out this short video:


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What is Open Adoption and What Choices Does it Give You?

Unlike other types of adoptions, open adoption allows birth mothers many choices throughout the process. Open adoption allows you to:

  • Choose your child’s adoptive parents
  • Decide how you want things to go at the hospital
  • Receive counseling and support
  • Remain in contact with your child and the adoptive family in the future

You Choose Your Child’s Adoptive Parents

In an open adoption, you can choose the adoptive parents you feel would be the best fit for your baby. This is different from a closed adoption, where the adoption agency selects a family for you. Modern, open adoption puts you in control of your adoption planning, giving you the power to make the important decision of who will raise your baby.

You can browse adoptive family profiles right now on our website or search for adoptive parents using a variety of criteria. You might wish to place your baby with a couple on the West Coast, for example, or maybe an adoptive couple who don’t yet have any kids is what you’re seeking.

Cheerful pregnant woman talking on her smartphone to a potential adoptive parentEach adoptive family’s profile includes information about them, such as their jobs, values, and hobbies. You’ll also see pictures of them and their family and a video of the couple sharing more about themselves.

Once you select an adoptive family, your Adoption Coordinator at Lifetime will arrange for you to have a phone conference with them. It’s common to feel a little nervous about talking with and meeting potential adoptive parents for the first time. So, if you’re feeling uncomfortable about this phone call, please speak up to your coordinator. She can join in on the call and help you out so it doesn’t feel awkward. Having her there can help break the ice. If you’re wondering what to ask the adoptive couple, check out this list of possible questions to ask adoptive parents.

You Decide How You Want Things to Go at the Hospital

With open adoption, you’re in control of everything, and that includes your delivery and hospital stay. You can create an adoption hospital plan so that the adoptive family, the hospital staff, and Lifetime know exactly how you want your hospital stay to go. Having your plan in place before you go into labor allows everyone (especially you!) to concentrate on the birth of your baby.

Your Adoption Coordinator at Lifetime will guide you along as you create your adoption hospital plan. To get started, you might consider these questions:

  • Do you want the adoptive family to be at the hospital when the baby is born?
  • Do you want them in the delivery room with you? Do you want them in the waiting room?
  • Would you like to hold your baby? Would you like to feed your baby?
  • Do you want the adoptive family to take part in the birth process, and if so, how?
  • Would you like to leave the hospital before your baby leaves with the adoptive family?

You Can Receive Counseling and Support

Throughout the adoption process, your Adoption Coordinator will be there for you. She can answer all your questions and will give you any information you need to know. Lifetime’s adoption staff are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling or texting 1-800-923-6784.

Lifetime Adoption has many different resources and support for you online, as well as peer counseling, access to adoption attorneys, a wide selection of adoptive parents to choose from, help via text and phone 24/7, maternity clothes, and so much more. We provide this support before, during, and after the adoption.

Birth mothers can use a wide range of resources and adoption services through Lifetime Adoption. These include:

  • Counseling, both peer counseling and licensed professional counseling
  • Goal-setting guidance
  • Access to our nationwide database of pre-screened adoptive families to choose from
  • Help to create an adoption plan
  • Medical referrals
  • Access to legal assistance
  • Help with the medical and other resources you need
  • Pregnancy-related expenses paid (if allowed by state law)
  • Transportation to your doctor’s office

You Can Stay in Touch With Your Child

With modern, open adoption, you can decide the amount and type of contact you want to have with your child as they grow. Researchers have found that birth mothers in an open adoption had lower levels of grief. Being able to see their child happy and thriving helps birth mothers process their grief better.

All Lifetime families are ready and eager to have a future contact in an open adoption with you. With Lifetime, you can choose to stay in touch through things like:

  • Letters and pictures
  • Email
  • Texting
  • In-person visits
  • Connecting via social media
  • Phone calls
  • And more!

Your Lifetime coordinator will help you work out what you desire and ensure that you and the adoptive parents are all on the same page.

Open adoption continues to be popular, and for a good reason: it gives birth parents the chance to have a say in their child’s future. So as you consider whether adoption is the right choice for you, remember that with open adoption, you’ll have the wonderful reassurance of seeing your child grow up.

If you have questions about what is open adoption and how it works, Lifetime’s adoption professionals are always available by calling or texting 1-800-923-6784.

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Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on November 5, 2021, and has since been updated. 

Mardie Caldwell Certified Open Adoption Practitioner

Written by Mardie Caldwell Certified Open Adoption Practitioner

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.

Read More About Mardie Caldwell

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