Infant adoptions are facilitated by either a private agency, an attorney or a facilitator. These adoptions are often arranged prior to the birth of a child and the relationship between prospective parents and a future birth mother is something that sets infant adoptions apart from one another. Before working toward an adoption arrangement with an attorney or agency, a couple and a birth mother should decide if they want a closed, semi-open or open adoption experience.
An open adoption refers to a full disclosure of first and last names between adopters and future birth parents. Open adoption may also include a word-of-mouth agreement to engage in correspondence and occasionally visitations during the child’s life. The extent of an open adoption depends on the parties involved and they generally have very little interaction with middlemen, attorneys and agencies.
Open adoption may also be a term used by agencies and attorneys to refer to semi-open adoptions, which allows a birth mother an active role in the adoption process yet with select anonymity. She may be given the right to select from an adoption profile and interview the adoptive family before placement.
The pros and cons of open adoption come down to preference. Adopters that support open adoption feel that establishing a relationship with the birth mother may reduce the chance of her changing her mind about placing the child. And maintaining a relationship with her afterwards may keep the child from being discontent or curious about his or her birth mother. Others take comfort in knowing the birth mother can inform them of any health development that could affect the child.
Pregnant women and adopters should be open about their pre- and post-adoption preference so as to not feel obligated to uphold a relationship that neither party is equally comfortable with.