Wondering About the Advantages of a Semi-Open Adoption?
It’s not unusual for birth mothers to find the idea of having no future contact with their child they’re considering placing for adoption a barrier they cannot get over. However, for so many birth mothers, it is also a common concern that maintaining an open adoption with their child and the adoptive parents could make moving on with their lives too difficult. If you find that this exact problem describes you, there is another option you can consider.
What is a semi-open adoption?
Semi-open adoption is when birth parents and adoptive parents choose to participate in an exchange of information, typically through a third party. Depending on the parameters agreed on before placement, the families can exchange: letters, cards, pictures and gifts, but do not have direct contact with each other. The parameters of each semi-open adoption are set and agreed on before placement, so both families can choose to maintain anonymity. This is also sometimes referred to as “mediated adoption,” which means that a third party is the point of contact for communication. The third party mediator receives and forwards all communication, removing all identifiers, after ensuring that it does not violate the agreement made before placement.
At Adoption Choices of Reno, we use a secure online resource called ChildConnect. Birth and adoptive parents are able to safely pass information and images back and forth. To learn more, be sure to consult with your adoption caseworker.
What are the advantages of semi-open adoptions?
At first, the idea of trusting a third party to handle such a sensitive issue may be unfamiliar. However, there are many reasons that both birth parents and adoptive parents would prefer to have their child raised in relative privacy. Birth mothers may prefer that level of privacy due to the circumstances of their pregnancy, the stage of life they’re in when they become pregnant or because the life they hope to have after placement doesn’t involve raising a child. Whatever the reason, some families feel that having separation allows both parties space to grow and establish themselves post placement while still being able to keep a line of communication open.
Children who have been adopted often grow up wondering about the family they were born to. It’s completely natural to have questions about their birth family or their origins. In a closed adoption, the child has to make the choice to find their birth mother if and when they choose to. Semi-open adoptions allow for controlled, life-long communication. One of the biggest advantages to a semi-open adoption for the children is that, not only do the adoptive parents already have a wealth of information to draw from, but they are also able to ask the child’s questions directly to the birth parents. Because the communication is handled through our agency and ChildConnect, the birth family gets both space and time to decide if and how to answer questions asked depending on their comfort level.
One of the most practical advantages of semi-open adoptions is the access to information the adoptive parents have in case of a medical emergency. When a child is adopted, their family medical history is also a part of that adoption, if the birth mother is comfortable providing it. Think about how often a basic family medical history needs to be provided; even the optometrist at Costco asks for it.
While the basics are part of the adoption profile, there are times when a more extensive or specific medical history is needed. Since the lines of communication are already established, birth families can be easily called upon in a medical emergency.
It doesn’t have to be forever
Something to keep in mind is that the terms of the communication when choosing a semi-open adoption can evolve over time. Birth mothers are allowed to ask for less communication if receiving regular updates becomes too much to handle. The opposite is also true. If one party would like to increase the number of updates, or alter how they are communicating, that can also be requested. Both parties get the opportunity to evaluate the effects the changes may have and make informed decisions. This process can be repeated as often as necessary until both sides of the adoption feel they’ve reached a healthy balance.
Semi-open adoption is regularly described as “the best of both worlds,” and every adoption is unique to the people involved. If you’re considering a semi-open adoption or if you have additional questions about semi-open adoption, please reach out to your adoption caseworker. Remember that educating yourself about all of your options best allows you to make the healthiest choice for you and your baby.
Adoption and Surrogacy Choices of Reno has been providing adoption and surrogacy services across Nevada since 2012. You can call us to speak to someone now!