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Until the last few decades the profile of adoptive parents changed very little. The typical adoptive family was a married couple who sought to adopt an infant. Now children of all ages are adopted by parents at various stages in life. As adoption profiles have changed, so have the nature of adoptions.

 

Closed to fully open

In the past, most adoptions were closed and neither the birth nor adoptive parents knew much about one another. The pendulum has swung the other way, however, with varying levels of ongoing contact between birth and adoptive families occuring frequently.

In open adoptions, contact between birth parents and the adoptive family is maintained. Sometimes, birth parents and relatives also have varying degrees of ongoing contact with the child, including occasional in-person visits, periodic letters, and phone calls.

Benefits to open adoptions

Some families enjoy that open adoptions permit a child to learn about their biological family history and the reasons behind their adoption. Additionally, many adoptive parents find positive and supportive contact from birth relatives to be beneficial to their new son or daughter. 

Challenges to overcome

In order for an open adoption to be successful, both the birth and adoptive parents need to have a clear understanding of what level of contact will be permitted going forward and the limits on the rights of birth parents post-adoption. Open adoption is not coparenting, and birth parents do not have the right to make any decisions regarding the child post-adoption.

Families considering open adoption should consult an experienced family law attorney to understand their options.