If you have decided to adopt, you need to consider whether you want to enter into an open or closed adoption. The difference between the two may seem basic.

In an open adoption the biological parent(s) of the child will still have some contact (to varying degrees) with the baby, and in a closed adoption there is no ongoing contact between the child and the biological parents after placement.   In either case, the identity of the adoptive family may remain confidential.

However, before adopting you must consider the benefits and ramifications of the type of adoption you enter into. An open adoption has both pros and cons for the adoptive family.

Pro: Birth Mothers Receive More Information on the Child
When you enter into an open adoption; you have the added benefit of having a relationship with the biological parents.  Every situation is different and the amount of communication will vary, but there is some communication during pregnancy, labor, and after birth.

It is common for the biological mother to receive updates on the child’s well-being, pictures and even visits. This openness, relationship and communication comes a plethora of information you may not have otherwise been privy to.

For example, in a closed adoption you may not be able to find out nearly as much information about your child’s biological family and medical history.  You would have no way of knowing what health risks your child should look out for, especially if they are later discovered by the biological parent. However, in an open adoption you can get updates about the family medical history.

Con: It’s Difficult to Set a Communication Plan Both Sides Can Agree On   
While you may understand the biological family wants some form of communication when it comes to the child, you and the biological family may have completely different ideas of what types of communications will be allowed.

You may prefer to only share pictures and updates, for example. However, they may want some verbal communication and visitation with the child.  With the help of an experienced attorney and a skilled adoption counselor, a Post Placement Communication Agreement that details a plan that works for everyone can be negotiated and signed before baby arrives.  This can help everyone feel comfortable about the plan before baby is born.  You should ensure you have your own lawyer who will protect your rights as new parents during this process.

Pro: The Child Will Never Need to Search for Birth Parents
At a certain point, you will tell your child that they are adopted.  Most experts recommend doing so from a very young age.  The child may or may not decide they want to meet their biological parents. If you have entered into a closed adoption, it is often times very difficult, if not impossible, to unlock the adoption files.

The process can be long and may require a court order to open the files.  Some jurisdictions will only do so in the case of a medical emergency. An open adoption does not have this problem. The information is readily available for both the adoptive parents and the child.  The child will be able to contact the birth parents if and when they decide they want.

Con: Parents May Have Unrealistic Expectations
Giving a baby up for adoption is a hard decision for the birth mother.  Some may believe they are giving their baby the perfect life by relinquishing their parental rights to you. The problem is no one is perfect.

You will do your best to give your child the perfect life, just like any normal parent would; however, just like everyone else, you will find that it is impossible to do so. If the birth mother sees this, she may become discouraged or try to give you advice.  If that happens, take it in stride. She’s truly just trying to help and remember that even when adoption is the right choice for her, it’s a difficult choice.

Adoption is a beautiful process. It is a big decision and there are some complicated decisions you need to make sure you consider. The decision of whether to have an open or closed adoption should be considered carefully to make sure that you have weighed all of you options, preferably with an attorney.