As a potential adoptive parent, the phrase “open adoption” fills you with panic. Your immediate reaction is to say no. I don’t want to share my child. What if the birth parents try to take him or her away from me? These thoughts plague you. But do you actually know what open adoption is? The hesitation you’re feeling may be born from a false impression of the concept.
Adoption Choices of Florida is here to set the record straight! Having an open adoption doesn’t mean that you have no control over how your child is raised or the information he or she receives. In fact, you can both benefit greatly from having one. Having an open relationship between birth parents and adoptive parents puts several issues to rest for all individuals involved.
What Is Open Adoption?
Open adoption is a type of adoption in which birth and adoptive families have some form of ongoing contact. After placement, birth parents and members of their extended families may interact in various ways with the adoptive parents, as well as with the adopted child or youth. Communication may happen through letters, emails, social media exchanges, telephone calls, or visits. While some families exchange brief notes and photos, others may spend more time together and celebrate birthdays or holidays together. The type and frequency of contact will be decided by everyone involved and can range from several times a month to every few years.
Relationship Between Birth Parents and Adoptive Parents:
It’s important to note that, in an adoption, legal parental responsibility is transferred from your child’s birth parents to you, the adoptive parent. Once an adoption is finalized by a court, both birth parents lose all legal rights to their child. This means that they have no legal right to make important life decisions on behalf of your child, nor will they have the right to petition for custody or even visitation. They have terminated all parental rights.
With this fear settled, many adoptive families wonder, “What's the "right way" to do open adoption?” The answer is simpler than you might think: there is no right way. How adoptive parents define "open" can vary from annual updates sent through an adoption agency to close bonds, such as the birth and adoptive families celebrating birthdays and holidays together. There are varying degrees of best practices around open adoption. Really, it's just about keeping the door open.
Open Adoption is Beneficial All Around
A healthily maintained relationship between birth parents and adoptive parents may not be simple, but it’s most definitely rewarding. As with any relationship, there will be bumps and challenges along the way. But the end result is worth it! After all, open adoption benefits everyone involved.
Adoption Choices of Florida is available for you at 1-800-985-8108