Understanding Open Adoption: What It Means for Birth Mothers

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Adoption is a rewarding and challenging process in which birth mothers face some of the toughest and deeply life-altering decisions that anyone could ever encounter. Open adoptions have many benefits for all parties involved and are often flexible regarding the amount of communication that takes place. If you are pregnant and considering adoption, it’s good to know that closed, traditional adoptions are just one of several options available and are not required by any means. Be sure to reach out to a well-regarded adoption agency or law firm that can address any questions you may have about the adoption process. 

What Is An Open Adoption? 

An open adoption allows for ongoing communication between the birth mother, the child, and their adoptive parents once the adoption is complete. This communication may include the exchange of phone calls, emails, letters, and pictures, and may even allow for in-person visits, depending on the adoption agreement. Open adoptions are an ideal arrangement for many adults who chose adoption because it allows the child to benefit from staying in contact with their birth mother while their adoptive parents provide stability and support. 

Benefits of Open Adoption for Birth Mothers

Many birth mothers struggle with post-partum depression and grief, and an open adoption can help alleviate the feelings of loss and guilt that often come with choosing this path. Open adoptions also provide birth mothers with a tangible way to stay connected to their children and be able to have confidence in their decision to pursue adoption as they watch their children grow and thrive.

The Role of Adoptive Parents in Open Adoption

In an open adoption, adoptive parents play the vital role of supporting the birth mother’s wishes to build and maintain a relationship with their child. The decisions and attitudes of the adoptive parents tend to have a significant impact on how this relationship develops, and they are in a unique position to help it grow in a healthy way.  Adoptive parents also have the opportunity to cultivate a positive relationship between themselves and the birth mother, which can only be beneficial for the child. 

Common Concerns About Open Adoption

Although open adoption has many benefits, it comes with legitimate concerns for birth mothers. Some birth mothers may worry that an open adoption will be too confusing for their child and will make them feel like they have to choose between their birth mother and adoptive parents. Some may feel overwhelmed with guilt and be concerned about not knowing how to communicate with their child about why they chose adoption in the first place. It’s important to express these concerns to your adoption team and to meet with an adoption counselor or therapist that has expertise in this area. 

Establishing Boundaries and Expectations in Open Adoption

As the birth mother, you have the final say about any adoption agreement, and it’s important to communicate with the prospective adoptive parents about what their expectations for an open adoption are. The birth mother and prospective adoptive parents should meet several times to discuss their hopes, standards, and intentions for the adoption so they can work together to create an agreement that feels respectful and comfortable for everyone involved. A plan for an open adoption should include the level and frequency of contact that feels right for both parties and how any disagreements that may arise will be addressed. Any formal agreement should also have room for adjustments as your needs, perspective, and goals may change during your adoption journey. 

Choosing Adoption 

As adoption lawyers in the state of Florida, we have years of experience with the adoption process. We are proud advocates for and sensitive to the needs of birth mothers and children, and we understand that choosing to put your baby in an adoption plan is a life-changing decision, full of emotional highs and lows. We are here to support and guide you each step of the way, whether or not you decide adoption is right for you. If you would like to schedule a consultation to find out more about adoption and the services we offer, contact us today.