My Journey to Joy

July 28, 2011

Types of Adoption

Filed under: Adoption 101 — aunthoddy @ 6:00 PM

There seems to be a lot of confusion about adoption.  We’ve all heard this or that story, some great, some awful, that shape our view of adoption.  Did you know that there are at least three main types of adoption?

Traditional/Confidential   Semi-Open   Fully Disclosed/Open

Most international adoptions are, by necessity, traditional or “closed.”  There is usually very little chance of ever connecting with a birthparent, for obvious reasons.  This was also the norm in the U.S. until the late 1900’s.  Studies have since shown that adoptees tend to cope better if they have some information, or personal history, so a move has been made toward a greater openness.  Also, birthmothers find security in being able to observe that their child is thriving, making their decision to place a little easier.  For your information, the three types:

“Traditional/Confidential- In a confidential adoption, neither the adoptive parents nor the birthparents know each other, nor do they ever meet.  Instead, all of the arrangements and paperwork occur through a middleman, usually an adoption agency or an attorney.  A confidential adoption doesn’t mean that the adoptive parents and birthparents know nothing about each other; it means they have no identifying information about each other.”

We have a file on them, they have a file on us, but we have no way of finding/contacting one another.  Some birthmothers still choose this option, but it is fairly rare.

“Semi-Open- An adoption in which the adoptive parents and birthparents meet once or twice on a first-name-only basis.  In addition, they may agree to exchange pictures and letters on an annual or fairly infrequent basis through the adoption arranger, such as an attorney or adoption agency.”

I believe this is still fairly commonly done.  This gives a sense of security, while still providing some interaction.

“Fully Disclosed/Open- Every adoption of this type will be different, based on the type of relationship that the birthparents and the adoptive parents have agreed to.  Both identifying and non-identifying information about the adoptive parents and birthparents is shared, which can include last names, addresses, and telephone numbers.  In some open adoptions, the birthparent and the adoptive family know each other and have ongoing communication about the child…”

As you can see, this one has infinite variables that depend on our wishes and the wishes of the birthmother. 

Right now, Daniel & I would like something probably on the conservative side of open.  We want to meet our birthmother, send her pictures and updates, and maybe even meet at a neutral location each year.  A lot of this will be up to her, though.  Usually, birthmothers ask for more openness than they actually take advantage of, and a large number tend to “disappear” after a few years.  We’ll see what happens!


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