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Types of Adoptions Continued

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Types of Adoptions to Consider 2

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Straight Talk  Continued

Types of Adoptions to Consider
After you have chosen an adoption facilitator, you need to ask yourself, "What kind of relationship do we want to have with our child's adoptive family?" The best way to answer tje question is to learn as much as you can about the three options for adoption plans: confidental, semi-open, or open.
Confidental Adoption
These are Common Elements of Confidental Adoptions:
  • Birthparents often request that the agency decide with which family their child is placed.
  • Birth and adoptive parents do not disclose any identifying information (full names and addresses)
  • The adoptive family receives information about the birthfamily's medical history up to the point of placement. There is no planned, ongoing sharing of social or medical information after the adoption is finalized.
  • There is no contact between the adoptive family and birthfamily, such as photos and letters, or visits.
  • Access to find a birthparent is limited by law and must be by mutual agreement at the time the child is of legal age. The adult child must contact the state central adoption registry.

Advantages: Total confidentiality is legally provided for adoptive parents and birthparents who desire this.

Disadvantages: In this form of adoption, there is no ongoing exchange of information, other than a court-ordered exchange in the case of a medical emergency. As an adoptive child grows, he or she can have questions that remain unanswered. Confidental adoptions might make it difficult to gain needed information.

Keys to a Successful Confidental Adoption

The greatest sucess is when the birthparents' and adoptive parents' desire for a confidental adoption is honored. Success is also enhanced when critical information regarding the birthparents' history is shared at the time of placement. Arranging a confidental adoption through a reputable agency makes it easiler to gain information, mediate contact, and assistance, if necessary. 

Semi-Open Adoption
These are Common Elements of Semi-open Adoptions:
  • Birthparents are allowed to select a family from written non-identifying material provided by an agency.
  • An agency or third party mediates the contact between the parties before and after the birth.
  • Birthparents and adoptive parents know each other by their first names only.
  • Adoptive parents may be present at the birth and may have met the birthparents before the birth.
  • All correspondence is sent through the agency or third party.
  • Post-placement meetings are arranged and supervised by the mediator.
  • Adoptive parents often share the child's picture and letters with the birthparents, but may also include gifts, videotapes, etc.


  • The advantange of this arrangement is that both families have the opportunity to develop a relationship over time. A semi-open adoption, current information can be passed on with ease, over time. A child's adoption story continues beyond birth, and his or her questions can be answered as they arise.

Disadvantanges: At times, adoptive families and birthfamilies feel "married" to the third party.

Keys to a Successful Semi-open Adoption

Trust is a key element of any enduring relationship. In a semi-open adoption, both families need to be sensitive to each other's position and establish a relationship grounded in trust. A third party or agency offers objectivity which can help to develop such a relationship.

Birthparents need to trust that the adoptive family will love this child as if the child were born to them. They accept their role as defined by the agreement, understanding that they will be included in their child's life in some way.

Adoptive families succeed in this type of adoption when they feel secure that the birthparents are pleased with their selection and are ready for the adoptive parents to accept the responsibilities of parenting. A semi-open adoption is most successful when adoptive families are open to discovering how best to include birthparents in the life of the child.

(c) 1999-2000 Bethany Christian Servies. All rights reserved.

Open Adoption
These are Common Elements of Open Adoptions:
  • The birthparents meet potential adoptive families before making their selection.
  • The birth and adoptive families fully disclosed identifying information at the appropriate time.
  • There may be ongoing contact in the form of: attending the birth of the child, attending physician visits together, visiting the home, gathering as extended family members during special occasions, etc.
  • There is direct correspondence between the families.
  • The families contact each other directly by telephone.
  • There are face-to-face meetings during the child's lifetime.

Advantages: Everyone involved in an open adoption communicates directly, without a third-party (mediator or agency). This alleviates the need to have communication pass through a mediator. This plan allows both families to nurture their relationship as it naturally develops. Information is shared more easily in an open adoption.

Disadvantanges: Sometimes adoptive parents and birthparents are uncomfortable with the level and type of birthfamily participation in the life of the child. There is also the possibility that the differing family styles and cultures may cause some discomfort.

Keys to a Successful Open Adoption

Adoptive parents in an open adoption accept birthparent participation as a way to enhance their parenting and the life of their child, not to diminish it. Typically, they are confident enough to say "no" to birthparents without fear of jeopardizing their relationship with the birthfamily. Birthparents who do well  in open adoptions view their role not as parents but as persons very special to the family. They are accepting of the entire adoptive family and build a relationship centered on what is best for the child. These birthparents are typically mature individuals who understand the need for boundries. Often they are goal-oriented, look for achievement in a direction other than raising a family. Open adoption is most easily understood in the context of an "extended family" relationship.

Each family's situation is unique. Today's adoption plans offer options to meet vary circumstances. Confidential adoptions place privacy for the adoptive and birthparents at the center of the arrangement.Open and semi-open adoptions offer a dimension of intimacy that having a child together brings.

In any intimate relationship, interactions change over time. Think of it like this: In your own families you have members with whom you are very close and others who are more like acquaintances, there is greater distance between you. No two relationships are alike, and they develop and change over time due to new circumstances.

Every adoption has circumstances that help to define the parameters that will be best for the participants. Children thrive when the circumstances that prompted the adoption decision for their lives are shared with them to their fullest. Relationships with some degree of openness seem to give adoptive parents the best opportunity to answer their children's questions most effectively. In open adoption plans, children grow knowing that they are loved by their family members, the parents who adopted them and the parents who gave them life.

(c) 1999-2000 Bethany Christian Services. All rights reserved.

Hope, Help, & Healing, Inc.
P.O. Box 821074
Vicskburg, MS  39182
(601) 883-0570

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