Adoption doesn’t just stop after the papers are signed. For some families, it can seem that once the papers are signed that will be the end, but in the day of social media, it isn’t hard to gain information and access about either birth parent or child.
Closed adoption is when birth parents forfeit their rights to have any contact with the child they are placing up for adoption. This means not being able to contact them directly, and the only way is to go through the adoption agency. This is an option that many parents take simply because it is the easiest at the time of adoption to do. In the long run, closed adoption can eat away at some birth parent’s feelings and the child is left with questions.
In the case of my adoption, I had a closed adoption. I had no contact with my birth parents and they had no contact with me. It was only when I turned 18 that I had heard anything about them. My birth father sent a letter to the adoption agency in which I was placed, and the adoption agency then forwarded the letter on to my mother. Then finally, my mother gave it to me on my 18th birthday. In the letter, my birth father told me he wanted to get to know me, who I was and how my life was shaped. I decided to say okay and my mom and I mailed off a collage of pictures to him. After that, we didn’t hear anything back, for a few months.
Closed adoption isn’t as “closed” as it used to be. In the time we are in now, social media can be used to easily find someone. My mom also pointed out to me graduations are now live streamed on YouTube so if you have an idea of where the person you want to find lives now, you can google to find out what school or social media they might have. This can make closed adoption very one-sided, especially if you want to later reconnect with another party. While you might have found them on social media wanting to connect they may not want the same interaction with you as you want with them. This then can lead them to feel trapped. Closed adoption has its benefits, as the child has an out of sight out of mind feeling.
My adoption story has become like many others in which they start out with a closed adoption but end up with contact with their birth parents. This to me forms its own category of a semi adoption where it is closed but sometimes anyone can make contact.
Open adoption is basically where a child or children are given up for adoption but at any time the mother or child can contact one another. This option is nice for kids who were put into the system later in life and already have a relationship with their biological family. Open adoption is nice for domestic adoptions or if family members are not healthy and/or might have a sickness. Open adoption can also vary to some degree, where they could have some but not all contact information. There are families that choose to stay in contact throughout the child’s life. Open adoption is becoming more common now, helping the child cope with their adoption because of the open line of communication. A downside of open adoption weighs more on the adoptive parents, this is because some adoptive parents are concerned with who their child see as their “real parents”. Adoptive parents also worry about the birth parent’s boundaries, the birth parents might overstep and cause a problem between adoptive parents and child.
Adoption comes from the heart, but the adoption process comes from the Law. You should follow your heart, but be sure you also follow the law.- Irina O’Rear