What is Open Adoption?
In the last 20 to 30 years the practice of open adoption has become more and more the norm. This trend emerged to correct the problems created by traditional closed adoption. The roots of traditional closed adoption can be traced to the nineteenth century and involve the issues of unwed mothers, illegitimate children, and how society should deal with them. Given the shame associated with adoption in those days, it is no wonder that secrecy became the overriding goal.
The change from closed, secret adoption, to open adoption, has proven to be beneficial for all concerned.
This is how it works:
The birthmother, after receiving counseling and help to prepare for the adoption of her child, chooses the adoptive family. In most cases, she meets with the family, usually in our office, becomes acquainted with them, and adapts to a level of comfort that allows her to release her baby to the adoptive family.
The birthmother and the adoptive family mutually agree on the level of openness and the format of communication that they will maintain. Contact can range from exchanging non-identifying information to exchanges of pictures and updated information. It can sometimes mean ongoing visitation if that is desired. An Infant of Prague social worker is there every step of the way to mediate the level of communication that is comfortable for all.
The most important element of open adoption is the mutual trust that develops between the adoptive family and the birthmother. In addition, the birthmother’s decision to commit to adoption is strengthened and supported when she knows her child will grow up in a loving home that she has selected. The greatest beneficiary is the adopted child who knows s/he is loved and cherished by everyone involved in his or her adoption. This is what makes the adoption child-centered – everyone acting in the best interest of the child.