Weighing the Pros and Cons of an Open or Closed Adoption

Many decisions need to be made when considering an adoption, and most of them are far from easy. One of the toughest decisions that need to be made is deciding whether the adoption will be closed or open.

Benefits and negative aspects exist to both options, and it is important that all parties carefully weigh these factors before making an informed decision.

What Is an Open Adoption?

The concept of an open adoption is not always common, but it is quickly growing in popularity for adoptive parents looking to maintain a connection with the biological parents of the adopted child. Open adoptions allow the birth parents to have contact with the child to a certain level throughout the adoption process and even after the adoption is finalized.

Arizona does not give a specific requirement for what an open adoption is. The law does allow for the birth and adoptive parents to come to a written, legally-binding contract that gives the details for how communication between all parties will work.

This communication can include visits with the biological parents, including describing how often they are, emails, letters or phone calls with the biological parents. The communication may be throughout the child’s life or later, when he or she reaches a certain age or maturity level.

Advantages to Open Adoption

An open adoption allows for the child to have some type of contact with his or her birth parents later in life. Many children want this contact later, and an open adoption makes the process easier.

An open adoption also gives the adoptive parents more information about the birth parents, which may prove to be helpful later in the event medical or other information is needed. It also allows for the adoptive parents to be more open with the child about his or her biological family in the event the child inquires as he or she grows up.

Disadvantages to Open Adoption

Like many things, disadvantages also exist to open adoptions. One disadvantage is the different expectations of the parties. The adoptive parents and biological parents may have different ideas on how communication should be.

The child may also not want to have contact with his or her birth parents later in life and may resent the fact that he or she was not made a part of the decision to proceed with the open adoption process. Further, it may also complicate matters for the child, putting him or her in a position where the child feels competing loyalties to the different sets of parents.

What Is a Closed Adoption?

As opposed to an open adoption, a closed adoption does not allow the biological, birth parents any right to maintain communication with the child or the adoptive family.

Essentially, when a birth parent agrees to a closed adoption, he or she is waiving any right to any type of communication with the child.

The term closed adoption implies confidentiality, and closed adoptions tend to be done through a third-party adoption agency that may seal information related to the birth parents or adoptive parents. This information is also sealed from the child, as well.

Advantages to a Closed Adoption

In a closed adoption, the rights of the adoptive parents are protected more than in an open adoption. The adoptive parents are not required to maintain lines of communication with the birth parents, which relieves the anxiety and burden that often comes along with having to do so.

Further, the adoptive parents do not have to worry about the birth parents later intruding in their lives and their ability to raise the adopted child as they see fit.

Disadvantages to a Closed Adoption

Some disadvantages do exist for a closed adoption, however. Many times, the adopted child wants to have some knowledge of where he or she came from and what his or her birth parents were like. With a closed adoption, this information is sealed and kept confidential from the child. Therefore, if he or she has later questions about the biological family that only the birth parents can answer, these questions will go unanswered.

If the child later decides that he or she wants to communicate with the birth parents, this process can be nearly impossible for the child, the birth parents or the adopting parents.

If You Are Thinking Adoption, Contact Stuart & Blackwell Today

At Stuart & Blackwell, we understand just how stressful the adoption process can be. We’re here to help you find the path to adoption that’s right for you. Every adoption is as unique as the adoptive parents themselves, but the journey doesn’t have to be harrowing.

We specialize in Arizona adoption law, and we have the experience, knowledge, and compassion to help you welcome your child into your loving home. Contact us at (480) 420 2900 today for your free consultation.

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