Opening the Door on Open Adoption

“Open adoption sounds terrifying!”

That is often one of the first sentiments I hear from couples who are considering adoption.

While it has been proven to be beneficial for a families’ overall health, the term often means different things in different types of adoption. To shed some light on the world of open adoptions, here are some things to keep in mind.

What open adoption is:

  • Some level of ongoing communication that is managed by the adults who created embryos (often genetic parents), and the adults who adopted embryos.
  • This can be managed through email, social media, letters, texts, and sometimes a third-party website or a person who helps facilitate that contact.
  • There tends to be some structure around this to create boundaries, such as a certain time of year that both families will contact one another for updates.
  • Updates often consist of an updated picture of genetic siblings shared by both families, updates to medical backgrounds, or significant life events that happened since the last point of contact.
  • The degree of contact usually changes over time as both families become more comfortable with one another and their relationship naturally develops.
  • Sometimes this includes meeting in person, but this is never forced and is something both families are open to when the time comes.

What open adoption isn’t:

  • A way for biological parents to directly contact the child who they placed with an adoptive family, or a way for them to involve themselves in the adoptive family’s parenting decisions.
  • Something that will create regret for the biological family, leading them to try to take back their parenting rights of a child who was born.
  • Something that will cause confusion for the child who was adopted as an embryo, and make them think they are not being raised by their “real” family. In adoption, everyone is real, and children are very capable of understanding that truth.

While each open adoption will be unique to the families that create them, they are one of the most rewarding parts of being a parent through adoption. Not only will you get to parent one or more amazing little kids, but you will also be blessed by this additional connection with a family who has walked through many of the same difficulties as you have, and care deeply about your little ones.

For more information on embryo adoption and donation, visit EmbryoAdoption.org.