Open and Closed Child Adoption Law

A long time ago, almost all adoptions were done on a “closed” basis, that is to say there’s no contact allowed between biological and adoptive parents and the child once the process is finalized. However, the current trend in child adoption law is toward an “open” adoption model, where the involved parties make an effort to remain in contact with one another.

Closed Adoptions
These are exceedingly rare in the US but are quite common internationally. Typically, families use an adoption agency to find a newborn and the potential adopter waits for a social worker to make a match; they don’t know where the child comes from or anything about the biological parents. In some cases, a child may never know they were adopted and, even if the biological and adoptive parents knew each other, they don’t remain in contact after the adoption is finalized. Files are typically sealed, and states have child adoption law for family members to find information on closed adoption cases.

Open Adoptions
These are very common nowadays and they allow the biological and adoptive parents to meet and remain in touch. Most agencies these days encourage openness, and birth parents typically get a say in choosing their child’s adoptive family. Agencies give birth parents biographies of potential adopters, and the selection process continues. Families often remain in contact throughout a pregnancy, and they often use the agency to stay connected with one another throughout the child’s life.

The Pros and Cons of Adoption
For adoptive and biological parents, an open adoption can take away some of the mystery of the process and it can aid in decision-making. Also, it allows parents to trust in our experience, and it makes it easier to answer questions from older children.

However, there are downsides to consider, for instance, some adoptive parents find the openness a bit threatening, feeling that birth parents may be intrusive or fight to have the child taken back. An adoption lawyer in the area can go over the pros and cons of each type of adoption, and they can recommend the best course of action for a client who wants a child.

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