More and more often, women who choose adoption for their babies are doing so with the hopes of seeking an open adoption. Here at Lifetime, we have found that most women who choose adoption want some contact with the adoptive parents.
So why do most women choose to make an open adoption plan? Let’s start off by actually defining what “open adoption” really is.
Here’s a short video explaining open adoption…after you watch it, scroll to learn some of the most important reasons women feel more comfortable with open adoption:
Here are some of the most important reasons women feel more comfortable with open adoption.
1. It empowers you
Open adoption gives birth mothers the option to be more involved and empowered throughout the adoption process. A birth mom can select adoptive parents that align with her values and the future she envisions for her baby. Open adoption also allows birth moms to meet adoptive families before placing their baby with them.
“I got started with adoption by looking at adoptive family profiles. At a time when so much of my life felt out of control, it was empowering to take charge of this important decision,” says Maddy, a birth mother who chose adoption for her son two years ago.
Open adoption also allows you to decide how much you’d like to stay in touch with the adoptive parents and your child. As a birth mother, you’d have the opportunity to be involved in your child’s life in the amount you’re comfortable with. Some birth mothers want email updates and photos about every six months. Other birth mothers build a relationship with their child through visits, phone calls, and texts.
The method and amount of contact in the open adoption are personal decisions to be made by the adoptive family and the birth parents together. Lifetime is there to support and facilitate the open adoption plan along the way.
2. You will know how your child is doing as they grow up
An open adoption provides birth parents with reassurance that their child is well and happy. Through updates from the adoptive family, you have the ability to know how your child is doing throughout their life. You’ll get to know their favorite food, how they’re doing in school and the name of their best friend. You’ll have intimate knowledge about your child that you couldn’t have if the adoption were closed. Having a relationship with your child can help you feel happier and more peaceful with your adoption decision.
3. It is better for the child
Ultimately, many birth mothers say that the main reason they wanted an open adoption was for the sake of their child. It allows you to have a meaningful relationship with your child’s adoptive parents, which in turn will help your child feel more secure by knowing how loved they are by both sets of parents.
Research shows that adopted children do better in open adoption situations because they have the chance to learn about their birth family and background. Kids are naturally curious. Most adopted children have lots of questions about their adoption and their birth family. Who better to talk to about their adoption than their birth parents? The more kids can speak freely about it, the more secure they feel and the more loved they’ll feel by you. Knowing their birth family gives a child a sense of who they are and where they came from.
Plus, when a child gets to meet their birth family, they can find out who they look like or act like in the family which may help them understand themselves better. Even if you aren’t raising your child, you still have a place in their heart.
4. Gives you peace of mind
Another reason birth parents want an open adoption is because it’s better for their own hearts and minds. Open adoption provides them with the knowledge that their child is being raised in a safe, loving, and healthy environment. This can eliminate fear or uncertainty about their child’s future.
Birth mothers in open adoptions will have peace of mind knowing their child is healthy and safe as they see photos, talk on the phone or visit their child. Birth parents have the chance to explain about other family members or share important information with their child. Overall, birth parents say they feel that an open adoption helped them feel less grief and anxiety about placing their child in an open adoption.
5. You’ll remain a part of your child’s life
Open adoption means that a birth mother can still have a relationship with her baby. This does not mean that the birth mother can regain custody or parent in the conventional sense, but it allows her and her child to get to know one another. Adoption can come with many questions, particularly for an adopted child, and having this additional source of love in one’s life can only be a positive.
“My daughter gets a loving family who will support and provide for her while knowing that I did not just give her away,” says one birth mother, Hailey.
6. Important medical info
Open adoption also means the adoptive family you choose will have access to your child’s medical history. This may be important if any health concerns come up for your child.
Says Destiny, a birth mother, “Because of open adoption, my daughter’s adoptive parents know my family medical history. Some of the info I shared when I made an adoption plan was important genetic information. Knowing my daughter’s family health history could mean the difference between life and death. My daughter will need to know that her mother’s side of the family has a history of high blood pressure. This info could be life-saving!”
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.
Such a wonderful informative article. As an adoptee from the closed adoption era, I am envious of the advantages open adoption provides for today’s birth mothers. Medical history and a sense of identity top the list. Open adoption improves upon the adoption experience for both the birth parent and adopted child. Getting the adoptive parent to loosen the reins so to speak is what allows open adoption to prevail. It amazes me that many states still refuse to allow middle aged adoptees access to their OBRs, and that is a result of adoptive parents pressuring lawmakers to protect their rights. An adoptee belongs to both families. That is the nature of adoption.