Open Vs Closed Adoption: What Are the Pros & Cons?
Guest Post By Hannah Whittenly
Adoption can be a very difficult topic to discuss. If this is something that you’re considering, you’re going to have to decide ahead of time whether or not you’ll be interested in open or closed adoption. Each type has their pros and cons when it comes to the interests of the child you’ll be adopting.
Most children who are up for adoption may already have their adoption type assigned to them. Their birth parents may want to have some form of minimal involvement, willingly put their child up for adoption, and choose open adoption. In other cases, the child may come from the foster system or be given up out of love but by people who don’t think they can handle seeing their child raised by someone else, and so they choose closed adoptions.
As you enter into the adoption process, it’s important to consider the pros and cons of each type so that you can know which child cases to pursue. Here is what you need to know.
In an open adoption, birth parents are kept involved throughout the child’s life. However, the contact is typically minimal. The adoptive parents may send pictures and updates to the biological parents and, in some cases, visitations with the child may be allowed.
The Benefit of Open Adoption
When a child is adopted, they may grow up with questions about where they came from. Were their first parents just like them? Do they look like each other? There are hundreds of questions that can go unanswered and can be harmful to their mental health. With an open adoption, however, those questions don’t have to be a focus for the child. The contact that they will have with their birth parents will help give them the answers that they need.
The Downside of Open Adoption
If the child’s parents aren’t fit individuals—on drugs, mentally unhealthy, etc—then they won’t be the best people to have around the child. Although the choice to see the biological parents will be entirely up to the adoptive parents, maintaining a relationship with people who aren’t fit to be around children could prove detrimental.
Of course, not all birth parents are that way. Even so, maintaining a biological relationship could lead to confusion for the child when they start to deal with their familiar loyalties as they get older.
In closed adoptions, birth parents and children are kept separate and are not allowed to have visitation or contact. When the child turns 18, they can choose to reestablish their biological relationships but not until then.
The Pros of Closed Adoptions
Often, closed adoptions are done if it is for the safety and well-being of the child—especially for those who come from the foster system and may have a dangerous biological family. Sometimes it is also because the biological parents don’t want to have contact after giving them up as it can be hard to watch someone else raise their child.
The Cons of Closed Adoptions
Growing up adopted, you will have questions. If they can remember their biological family, they may feel neglected or rejected. That feeling of rejection may still be an issue even if they were adopted from birth. Not being able to know where you came from or why you are the way you are can be difficult. With a closed adoption, access to the answers that a child seeks can be near impossible.
No matter what route you take with the type of adoptions you seek out, know that you’re doing a beautiful thing. Let an agency, like A Child’s Dream, help guide you as you make the decision between going for closed or open adoption cases.
More About Hannah
Hannah Whittenly is a freelance writer and mother of two from Sacramento, CA. She enjoys kayaking and reading books by the lake.