Since the 1980s, open adoptions have become more common, providing benefits to all parties.
With a confidential, or closed, adoption, the mother releases parental rights for her child, and the adoption agency places the child with a new family. After the process is completed, the birth mother may have no idea who her child’s adoptive parents are, nor can she receive information about the child’s living situation. Consequently, if the child later wants to search for his or her parents, the process of reunification becomes quite challenging.
Pros of Open Adoption
Open adoptions foster relationships between adoptive and biological parents. In turn, this allows adoptive parents more control in making medical, educational, and other life decisions for the child based on biological and heritage concerns.
Biological parents, particularly mothers, can experience less separation grief. They can also receive more information about adoptive parents, and can then visualize the living environment of their offspring, obtaining more control over the process and reducing anxiety.
Many children experience low self esteem or identity issues during adolescence. This can be magnified for an adopted child questioning identity. Open adoptions allow more information about biological parents to flow to the children, fostering a greater sense of personal history and knowledge of heritage. In some cases, biological parents can be more involved in the child’s life, giving the child a larger support group.
Cons of Open Adoption
Biological mothers may experience less initial separation grief. However, it can also re-open the wound each time they interact with the child. There is always the possibility that, once the adoption process is under way, either adoptive parents or biological parents may change their minds about a number of issues, including how involved the biological parents are in the child’s life after adoption. For the child, there may still be some fear or apprehension, or the child may feel pressured to choose sides in the event of parental disagreements.
If you are considering open adoption, research the process, and learn how it impacts biological parents, adoptive parents, and adopted children. Consult an attorney knowledgeable about adoption issues in Minnesota before you make a decision. Call (763) 783-5146.