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What is openness in adoption?

What is openness?

In the past, it was common for adoptions to be closed, meaning there was no communication between the birth family and adoptive family or child. However, times have changed and openness is a key part of modern adoption. Openness in adoption means that there is some level of communication and information exchanged between the birth family and adoptive family and child. This allows you to keep in contact with your child and their adoptive parents throughout their life. Some birth parents can visit directly with their child and adoptive family, having an ongoing role in their child’s life. Various studies have shown that openness in adoption is usually best for everyone involved. It has been found to be beneficial for the child to maintain some connection to their birth families. And it provides peace of mind and reassurance to birth parents to watch their children grow. Most adoptions we facilitate at New Hope have some level of openness. 

What does openness look like?

This contact can happen in a few different ways, including letter & picture updates, phone calls, emails, social media exchanges and visits. The level of openness you desire for your adoption plan is completely up to you. We will be sure to match you with an adoptive family that is committed to maintaining the level of openness you desire. Click the graphics below to learn more about levels of openness.

Letter and picture updates are the most common way we see openness in adoption. This occurs when the adoptive family sends recent photos and a letter filled with updates on the child and their family to the agency. The agency will then forward it on to you or will hold it at the office for you to request at a later date. These updates can occur a few times a year until the child is 18 years old and are a great way to stay in touch with your child. You are also able to send letters and pictures back at any time by sending them to the agency, who will then forward them to the adoptive family.

Having visits with your child and their adoptive parents is an additional way to have openness in your adoption. These visits are coordinated by New Hope and are held in a neutral location, such as a park or the agency. They typically occur once or twice a year until the child is 18 years old. Visits can occur in person or virtually. Visits can be another great way to nurture your relationship with your child and their adoptive family. As time goes by, and relationships evolve, visits may be coordinated directly between the birth parents and adoptive family. 

How do I know what level of openness is right for me?

While adoption is a wonderful choice, it is accompanied by the pain and sorrow of not raising your child. Many women feel that having no contact after making this decision is what is best for them and for the child. However, research shows that having some level of healthy openness in your adoption can actually aid in your emotional healing. Getting regular updates can help assure you that the child is loved and well cared for. It can also be helpful for the child, as you can have the opportunity to answer some of their questions about their adoption and birth family. Our advocates will help talk you through the different levels of openness to determine what is best for you. 

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