A closed adoption is an adoption where there is no contact between the birthmother and the adopted child.
Closed adoptions are also sometimes called “confidential” or “secret” adoptions.
Some information, such as a family medical history, may still be communicated from the birthmother to the adoptive family, but it very limited.
Whatever is shared has anything that might be used to identify the birthmother removed first.
The birthmother may know the first names of the adoptive parents and their general location from their profile booklet.
Some birthmothers, however, opt for their adoption coordinator choose a family for them, in which case they may not know learn about the family.
There are lots of reasons that some birthmothers and adoptive parents might prefer a closed adoption.
Birthmothers are often embarrassed or ashamed that they are placing their baby for adoption.
Some also feel that their baby would be better off if he or she was not exposed to her because she feels that she would be a bad influence.
Adoptive parents are sometimes afraid that their child’s birth family will be unstable or disruptive.
Others are concerned that their child will be confused by having “extra” parents or that the birthmother will contradict their parental authority.
The disadvantages of closed adoptions have become increasing clear in the past few decades.
A recent major study showed that there was a direct correlation between openness and satisfaction with the adoption: the more open an adoption was, the happier and better-adjusted the birth parents and the adoptive parents were afterwards.
The limited medical history given to the adoptive family is also a notable problem in closed adoptions, particularly because it is not updated as new conditions are identified in the child’s biological relatives.
Also, because they don’t know the birth mother’s intentions, adoptive families sometimes fear that their child’s birth mother will change her mind and ask for the child back.
Closed adoptions are much less common in recent years. According to a recent survey, only 5% of infant adoptions between 2010—2011 were completely closed. In comparison, 55% were completely open and 40% were semi-open.
Another study showed that both birth parents and adoptive parents more likely to be distressed and dissatisfied in a closed adoption.
In fact, the study above showed that the birthmother’s general wellbeing after the adoption tends to be worse when she does not stay in contact with her child’s adoptive parents.