Adoption is a difficult decision. The process can be confusing and emotional.
There are three types of adoption:
- Open Adoption - Generally, open adoption refers to any adoption relationship between the adoptive family and birth parents in which identifiable information as well as contact are shared between both parties. This may include first and last names, address, phone number, personal email address, visits, and contact before and after the adoption.
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Of course, some open adoptions are more open than others. Some of these adoption relationships do include personal visits agreed upon by both the adoptive family and birth parents prior to them following the same adoption plan. Other open adoptions may just include periodic phone calls on holidays or birthdays. No two adoptions, and no two open adoptions, ever look quite the same.
- Closed Adoption - Closed adoptions are becoming less requested by birth mothers every year – an estimated 1 out of every 10 – unlike adoptions in the past where an overwhelming majority were closed. Prior to the 1980s, it was common practice to keep adoptions closed.
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Oftentimes, women facing unexpected pregnancies would temporarily move to another location, have their babies, and return home. The doctor or a child-placing agency would then find an adoptive family, unbeknownst to the birth mother. Today, most adoption agencies allow the birth mother to make most of the decisions in the adoption, including how much contact she wants with the adoptive family and the child. That said, some birth parents do still request closed adoptions, where very limited contact or identifying information is exchanged. The adoptive family still receives medical records in closed adoptions, but very little else.
- Semi-Open Adoption - Semi-open adoptions are a type of open adoption where there is less direct contact shared between the adoptive family and the birth parents. Typically, identifying information is protected, and an adoption professional mediates pre- and post-placement contact between the two parties. Like other, more open adoptions, what a semi-open adoption looks like will vary based on the preferences of the birth parents involved.
- Usually, there is a short window of time after the child is born or the adoption papers are signed in which the birth parent can change their mind and ask for the child back. If this happens, the adoptive family must comply.
- On average, adoptive parents are usually couples in their 30s to mid-40s, and single adoptive parents are often women in their 40s.
- Though there are some basic adoption rules and requirements that are the same everywhere, many adoption laws actually vary by state. Some adoption entities are fully licensed in more than one state, while others are only licensed in their home state.