What is Open or Semi-Open Adoption? Is It Right For You?
What is open (or semi-open) adoption? Open adoptions allow for birth parents to choose the adoptive parents. They can speak with them and meet them as they decide if adoption is right for them and their baby. Through open or semi-open adoption, birth parents may decide on the amount of contact they wish to have in the future after the adoption takes place.
Some birth mothers want letters and photos. Others prefer visits or phone calls after the adoption. Some want no contact at all. The choice is up to them and the adoptive family. There’s no standard definition of open adoption. Open adoption arrangements are flexible, and something that are discussed and agreed upon prior to the adoption. An open adoption agreement can be drawn up and signed by everyone if desired.
Lifetime helps with the connection and contact between birth mothers and adoptive families. In fact, when Lifetime began back in 1986, we were a pioneer in the open adoption process. We will continue to assist with adoptions as long as there are babies and children in need of good homes and birth parents wanting to make this loving decision.
If you prefer, Lifetime can choose adoptive parents for you. Birth mothers can still choose their own level of contact both during and after the adoption process. In fact, our wide variety of adoption services mean that birth parents have many options available to them.
Open vs. Closed Adoptions
Open adoptions are a relatively new advancement in the adoption process. For decades, the adoptions were closed. This basically means that no contact takes place between the biological parents and those adopting the child. In many cases, there’s also no contact prior to the adoption. It’s a closed adoption. Nobody on either side of the adoption process knows or has contact with the other.
Modern open adoptions, including those facilitated by Lifetime Adoption, provide direct phone calls, the exchange of personal information, and openness in the adoption relationship that provides wonderful benefits to the child.
As an adoption best practice, we like to see families and children maintain contact with biological family members — if, of course, both parties agree. Otherwise, we can maintain confidentiality and limit the release of identifiable information about the adopted child and their birth parents.
Lifetime helps both birth parents and prospective adoptive parents in the United States discover an adoption plan that best meets their needs. (We don’t facilitate international adoptions with the occasional exception of military members serving overseas.)
What’s Your Adoption Story?
We have so many wonderful adoption stories that share the benefits of the open adoption experience.
Of course, every open adoption is different. For example, some open adoptions have continuous contact between birth and adoptive parents, perhaps through social media, texting, phone calls, and email. Others have visits once or twice a year. Still others maintain contact only on holidays or via letters and postcards. These are all forms of open — or semi-open — adoptions.
Lifetime Adoption can help you create an adoption plan that’s right for you. Lifetime is staffed 24 hours a day by caring coordinators who are adoption experts. In addition to their own knowledge and years of experience, they also have access to the best resources nationwide to help you get the help you need as you create your customized adoption plan.
ChildWelfare.gov provides a helpful checklist for women considering open adoption. Ask yourself the following questions, they write. If you answer “yes” to any of them, you may want to look a little closer at open adoptions.
The questions include:
- Do I want to have a say in who raises my child?
- Would it matter if you didn’t know whether or not your child was safe and healthy?
- Would I prefer to keep tabs on my child through photos, telephone calls, letters, or visits?
- Is it important to be able to tell your child about their family background?
We would add another: Do you want to be able to inform your child’s adoptive parents or the child about histories of illness in the family?
The first step is just to call or text Lifetime and learn about if open adoption is right for you. There is no obligation when you call, and everything is private and confidential.
Open Adoption: ‘The New Norm’
Parents.com calls open adoptions “the new norm.” In fact, they report that 95 percent of adoptions are now open in some way.
At Lifetime Adoption, we see this as a natural and wonderful extension of the work we’ve done since 1986. We’ve supported birth parents in learning about and choosing open adoption for over 30 years. We look forward to continuing our work and our mission.
That mission? To help birth parents and adoptive families come together to create an open adoption through our nationwide network of resources.
As one of the most successful adoption agencies in the United States, we pioneered the use of the internet to provide information about adoptions, including providing a way for women to learn about waiting families across the country. Today, we are still committed to all women and families who place their trust in us.
If you have any questions about the adoption process itself or open adoptions, please call or text us anytime. We can answer your questions, tell you how adoption works, and about the various types of adoption assistance available to you.
Remember: All services are free of charge to birth mothers at Lifetime Adoption.
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