If you or someone you know is considering adoption, then you should know as much as you can about open adoption.

According to the Child Welfare Information Gateway, open adoption is defined as a form of adoption on that allows birth parents to know and have contact with the adoptive parents and the adopted child. Adoption agencies or professionals you talk with may describe open adoptions differently. (Child Welfare Information Gateway)

In order to ensure that you have the best open adoption possible, here are Adopt Connect’s Tips on how to have a healthy open adoption:

Create a Plan: Make your expectations of openness clear early on. Talk with your adoption professional about the types of open adoption that are available, along with what forms of communication you are most comfortable with. If you’re not sure that you can honor the expectations of the birth mother/family, then speak up before it becomes an issue. Make sure your family and the birth mother/family are on the same page about the openness of the adoption.


Know Your Comfort Level: Determine what you feel comfortable with sharing early on. Then, ask yourself these questions: How often do you want contact with the birth mother/family? What kind of contact do you want? How will you talk to your child about their open adoption? Do you tell others of your open adoption? You should also make sure most communication goes through your adoption professional.


Set Boundaries: Agree upon terms. Remind the birth mother/family of your original plan if your terms aren’t met, or you feel they’re being overbearing. Be sure to contact your adoption professional on how to handle the situation in an appropriate way.


Allow the Relationship to Grow Naturally: Let your relationship with the birth mother/family grow organically over time. Creating the relationship gradually can increase trust and create a solid foundation for the future of the relationship. Agreeing to contact by email only in the beginning could eventually lead to contact over the phone, or even visits.


Be as Open as Possible: Communication, like in any relationship, is key. Therefore, as an adoptive parent, be sure the developing relationship is working for both parties. Furthermore, when your child is old enough, be sure to explain the situation to them as best as you can. Be as honest as possible.


Try to be Flexible: Relationships and people can easily change. Consequently, as an adoptive parent, be open and engaged with the other party; the relationship that develops may be surprising.

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