Adopting - Open versus Closed
Identifying information is shared in an open child adoption while such information is not shared in a closed adoption.
Many adopting families and most birth parents are unclear about what make an adoption closed or open.
In a closed adoption, the birth mother, birth father and you (the adopting family) are anonymous. While you may or may not meet and may share first names at the hospital or at placement, no identifying information such as last names, addresses, social security numbers, is exchanged. In an open adoption, the birth mother, birth father and you exchange identifying information and after the placement you may or may not have ongoing contact with each other. The key factor is that identifying information is shared while in a closed adoption it is not shared.
Whether an adoption is closed or open is determined by what you want, what the birth mother and birth father want, what your state adoption law allows, and what agency you select. Some birth mother will only work with families wanting an open adoption and others only with those wanting a closed adoption. Some child adoption agencies also dictate whether an adoption they conduct will be open or closed. And then some states do the same by way of their child adoption law.
We have done hundreds of both closed and open adoptions over the years and have found neither one to be "safer" or more ''risky" than the other. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. Rest assured, however, that with either an open adoption or a closed adoption, as long as you are working with a licensed child adoption agency or an adoption attorney, you should have no problem just because the adoption is open or closed.
Additional Resources: Open and Closed Adoption
Helps families find agencies practicing open adoption. Adoptees on their mailing list respond to the question, "What do you wish your adoptive parents had known?"
Provides information on a longitudinal study of openness in adoption since 1985. The most recent wave included a total of 720 individuals: both parents in 190 adoptive families, at least one adopted child in 171 of the families, and 169 birth mothers. This study was the source of much of the research for this fact sheet and the bulletin for professionals.
Cooperative (Open) Adoption Laws provides laws for each State on open (sometimes called "cooperative") adoption, compiled by the Clearinghouse.
For more information visit the link Open and closed adoption.