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Adoptions: Know the differences between open and closed adoptions

The decision to bring a new child into your home through adoptions is a very serious one. When you adopt a child, you are agreeing to raise and support him or her just as you would your own biological son or daughter.

One of the decisions that you will have to make is what type of adoption you want. There are two main types -- open and closed. Historically, closed adoptions were the most common, but the tide has turned more toward open adoptions in recent years.

Open vs. closed

In an open adoption, the birth parents and the adoptive parents know each other. At a minimum, they know basic information like names and similar information. This isn't the case for closed adoptions. In a closed adoption, the birth parents and adoptive parents don't know each other.

Involvement of the birth parents

In a closed adoption, the birth parents don't play any part in raising the child. They don't contact the child at all. In an open adoption, the birth parents do have some contact with the child. The extent of involvement with can vary greatly. Typically, the birth parents and the adoptive parents would come to an agreement about what type of interaction the birth parents can have with the child. Clearly defined roles are vital here so that both sides know what they are facing. If something isn't working out the way they should, the adoptive parents can usually change the arrangement. The birth parents could also opt to stay out of the child's life if they are no longer comfortable with the arrangement.

Access to medical history

In a closed adoption, the birth parents fill out forms about their medical history. Adoptive parents are limited to this information if something happens and they need the child's birth family's medical information. In an open adoption, there is a chance that the birth parents and birth family as a whole would be more willing to share information about specific questions regarding the medical history if something happens and the child's health care provider needs more information.

Stability for the child

One thing that adoptive parents need to think about in either type of adoption is how they can keep the child's life stable. While babies likely won't remember the adoption process, older children will. Stability is the cornerstone of a successful adoption process and it must be the primary focus of the arrangements. It is important that you think carefully about all of the possible options that you might have for handling each aspect of the adoption so you can choose the one that is best for your situation.

Source: Nov. 30, -0001

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