An "open" adoption usually means that the birth parents and the adoptive family speak prior to and even after the child is born, including phone calls and face-to-face visits. Some open adoptions have the adoptive family and birth parents exchange contact information and they may even agree to periodic visits by the birth parents as the child grows up.
The down side to this may be the potential confusion to the child being raised with two sets of parents and the child playing the adoptive parents against the birth parents with the resultant emotional turbulence in the child.
A totally closed adoption is where the adoptive family and birth mother remain completely confidential, with no contact prior to the birth, at the hospital, or even after the placement of the child. In the past, this was the most common form of adoption to prevent the confusion of an open adoption. Some people believed that a closed adoptions was "safer," primarily out of a fear that if the birth parents knew where the adoptive family lived, that they would "take back" the child.
While this fear was perpetuated by television movies and sensationalized media reports, this is not true today. US adoption laws are now very clear that once the adoption is finalized, the adoptive family is recognized as the child's legal family. Fortunately, there is a shift toward more openness in adoption for the sake of the birth parents and children.
Semi-open adoptions are a healthy blend between open and closed adoptions. The adoptive family and birth parents usually will know basic non identifiable ] information about each other, such as their first names and state of residence, but identifiable information, such as full names, phone numbers and addresses, are not shared.
Generally adoptive families and birth parents speak to one another prior to the birth of the child and meet at the hospital, but ] confidentiality is always maintained during all contacts. After the placement of the child with the adoptive family, the adoptive family will agree to provided letters and pictures to the birth parents through our adoption agency. Our agency maintains the current contact information for each party to facilitate the birth parents and adoptive families in contacting each other in latter years. If you would ever like the adoptive family to see your baby pictures, just send a letter or pictures to our agency.
We always carefully repackage all letters so that there is no identifying information (such as mailing address) and forward it on to the adoptive family or birth parents. We believe that this type of adoption is the healthiest for both the children and parents, and prevents confusion while encouraging the flow of safe information through our agency.