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  • Writer's pictureEmbracing Hope

What is the difference between an Open Adoption and Closed Adoption.

Updated: Jul 28, 2020

Can I Choose an Adoptive family for my child? - Can I have preferences and requests in the type of family I would want to parent my child? If so, how does that work?

Open Adoption vs. Closed Adoption

Open adoption is a form of adoption in which the biological and adoptive families involved with an adoption plan for a child have access to varying degrees of each other's personal information and have an option of contact.

In Open Adoption, the adoptive parents are committed to having a relationship with the biological parents when all parties agree it is in the best interest of the child.  This may include the contact in varying forms: from sending mail, emails, and/or texts with photos and updates, to possibly having face-to-face visits between birth and adoptive families. Many times the biological parents and adapting parents start to build their relationship during the birth mother's pregnancy.  Also, there are times where the birth mother has the adopting parents at the hospital for the birth of the baby.  This is a special bonding time for everyone and memories they can share with the child.  Getting pictures with everyone together also displays this to the child in the future, showing the child that all of them jointly made a loving adoption plan for the child. It has been discovered this seems to help give the child a sense of identity knowing who their biological family is, while feeling the security, nurturing, and love in the upbringing of their adopting family.

You can work with an agency representative to help you put together an Open Adoption Agreement and Plan that everyone feels comfortable with.

Closed adoption (can also be referred to as "confidentialadoption) is a process by which an infant/child is adopted by another family, and the record of the biological parent(s) is kept sealed. Most times this is when the birth mother would choose not to have contact with the adopting family.  In cases like this, the birth mother may tell the agency what type of family she would like the child to go to, and she would not be involved in choosing the family further than that.  Some birth mothers choose this option due to efforts of protecting the child, keeping things confidential from her own family, friends, or place of employment.  It may be a case where her life situation or choices may not allow her to know where the child is going, or maybe her just not wanting any involvement in the adopting family or child's life.

It has been found that some level of openness seems to be the healthiest options for most situations.  The birth mom doesn't have to mourn the loss of her child for 18+ years.  She may always be wondering what her child may look like, where they might live, and have many other unanswered questions for the rest of her life.  Answers will help her be at peace with her decision.  This also helps the child to at least have some basic information and possibly a picture of their birth mother so they don't get a "fantasy" person in their mind of what she may look like.  Some children have never known what their biological parents look like and go to the grocery store, park, or other public places, wondering if a random person could be their birth parent. Closed adoption leaves so many unanswered questions for the child too.  Some mental health professionals say closed adoption is worse because they believe that it is detrimental to the psychological wellbeing of the adopted child.  It seems to be so much better if some of those basic things can be in an adoption plan from the beginning to help with all of those potentially unresolved issues that can come up with both the biological parents and the child being adopted.

Embracing Hope Adoptions provides free pregnancy counseling and protection for all birth moms considering adoption. Our agency is committed to you and your pregnancy. We provide all information and documentation for open and closed adoptions so you can make an informed decision about what is right for your specific situation for you and your child. There are members of our staff who have personal experience with Open Adoption, and they can help you explore if that is the right choice for you.  If you are considering adoption, we would love to help you get a plan that works best for you, your child, and the adoptive family.  There is NO COST to you.  We can answer any questions you may have. Please reach out at or call 864.641.8142

Embracing Hope has helped with adoptions in many different states.  Adoption in SC, NC, GA, FL, TN, and OH are just to name a few.  

- Professional Licensed Adoption Agency and Free Pregnancy Services


Open Adoption - Adoptive Parents and Birth Mom

This precious family is one of Hope's Birth Moms and newborn's adoptive parents.



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