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Written by Renee Hettich
on January 21, 2013

open adoption  Open adoption is an adoption option where the birth family and adoptive family have an on-going relationship throughout the child's life.  The extent of the relationship is determined by the birth parent.   The initial thoughts of an open adoption relationship may be scary for both the birth parent and adoptive parents but as a relationship builds between the two families, the openness becomes comfortable.  They come together as strangers, develop a loving and respectful relationship over time and become bonded together forever by their love for their child.


Birth parent(s) wishing for an open adoption will consider adoptive families who also hope for an open relationship.  All families waiting to adopt with Family Connections, Inc. are hoping for an open adoption.  Click here to view Family Connections' waiting adoptive families.  The birth parent(s) will first review family profiles of adoptive parents (booklets of pictures and information regarding the adoptive family).  The birth parent(s) will then ask to meet one or two of those families.  Family Connections will then arrange for the birth family and adoptive family (and social workers from the agency) to meet over lunch or dinner.  


Both the birth parent(s) and adoptive parents share the same initial thoughts as they are considering an open adoption relationship.  As they meet for the first time, both the birth parent and adoptive parents have the same worries and they wonder ...


Initial Nervousness of a Birth Parent:

  • Will the adoptive parents like me?
  • Will I like the adoptive parents?
  • What will we talk about?
  • Will the adoptive parents honor my wishes for an open adoption?
  • Will I feel comfortable with the adoptive parents?
  • Will my child be glad that I have remained in their life?
  • Will I be able to handle visiting my child in his/her family? (if visitation is wanted by the birth parent)


Intial Anxiety of Adoptive Parents:

  • Will the birth parent(s) like me?
  • Will I like the birth mother and/or birth father?
  • What will we talk about?
  • Will the birth parent(s) honor her/his plan for an open adoption?
  • Will we feel comfortable with birth parent(s)?
  • How can I support my child's on-going relationship with his/her birth parent(s)?


After these initial meetings with adoptive parents, the birth parent(s) will decide with whom they wish to make an adoption plan.  Then the birth family and adoptive family will build a relationship which will continue to evolve over time.  Depending upon time and the birth parent(s) wishes, the birth family and adoptive family may have additional meetings before the child is born.  Then, if the birth parent wants, the adoptive family and she/they if share time together at the hospital.  After adoptive placement, the relationship between the two families will continue to grow. 


In New York State, birth parents may define their wishes for post-adoption contact with the adoptive family in a legal Post Adoption Contact Agreement that is court enforceable.  The Agreement specifies the type, amount, and time of post-adoption contact including the provision of pictures and letters to the birth parent(s) and face-to-face visitation (if wanted) between the birth parent(s) and adoptive family. This Post Adoption Contact Agreement details the minimual amount of contact between the two families.  The birth family and adoptive family may have additional contact if wanted.  Typically, the type and amount of post-adoption contact comes out of the relationship built between the birth family and adoptive family.    


To learn more about open adoption and other adoption options, please contact Anita or Renee at 1-800-535-5556 or anita@adoptfamilyconnections.org.  You can also download An Adoption Guide by clicking below.  We look forward to supporting your adoption plans.


Download A Free Adoption Guide  for Birth Mothers

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