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Open adoption is now the norm in our country

There was a time when open adoption only meant that the biological parents knew the name and location of their child once he or she was adopted, but nothing more. However, the meaning has changed in recent years. For the most part, international adoptions are still closed, but here in the U.S., open adoptions, where there is interaction between all parties, has become increasingly common.

If you are considering adopting a child, you may want to familiarize yourself with the concept of open adoption and determine how you feel about it, because this is a situation that may be in your future.

Understanding the term

There are many interpretations of the term “open adoption,” but basically it means that on some level, there is contact between the birth mother, her child and the child’s adoptive parents. Sometimes contact is only made through third parties or mediators, but recent estimates indicate that in 55 percent of open adoptions, there is direct contact. This may mean letters, phone calls or social media posts, but in some cases, the biological parents also get together with the adoptive family at least a couple of times a year.

A little history

Open adoption emerged in the late 1970s, and at that time, it mostly meant that adoptive records were no longer sealed. The term became more widely used in the ‘80s when biological parents began wanting more information about the placement of their children. Open adoption became the norm around the turn of the 21st century.

Effects on the children

The practice is still controversial, with some birth mothers and adoptive parents feeling that interaction of any kind would make them feel uncomfortable. Experts emphasize that whatever the decision of the adults involved, the needs of the children must come first. Adopted children have questions and, at some point in their lives, want to know more about where they came from. While open adoption may not completely erase the sadness a birth mother feels, it removes the mystery for the child. If you have questions about adoption and this manner of handling it, you can reach out for answers and advice to an attorney experienced with family law.

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