Closed and Open Adoption: What are they?
With many different types of adoptions available to prospective parents, the two basic forms of adoption are: closed and open. Closed adoption may be independent or public and does not allow for communication between the birth mother and the prospective parents nor does it encourage the sharing of information between the two parties. This limits the amount of knowledge the birth mother and the prospective parents have of each other including background and cultural information that may or may not be important to either the birth mother or the prospective parents or both. Open adoption, however, may be independent or private and encourages communication and the building of a relationship between the prospective parents and the birth mother.
When a birth mother seeks out prospective parents, this is known as an independent adoption unless the adoption is being handled by an agency. This type of open adoption process involves the birth mother locating and selecting the prospective parents. It is up to the sole discretion of the birth mother as to who the prospective parents she will choose are. Otherwise, if the adoption process is handled through an agency, it is known as a private adoption.
Through the assistance of an agency, the birth mother and the prospective parents are matched through the private open adoption process. This process involves the interviewing of prospective parents and the completion of a home study in order for the prospective parents to qualify to adopt a child. The prospective parents are then matched, using the acquired information, to a birth mother. The interview process helps to determine key information such as background and social history to help with matching.
What Steps Do Prospective Parents Take?
Through the assistance of an agency, the prospective parents go through an interview process in which the prospective parents’ background and social history is displayed to the agency. This helps the agency to match the prospective parents with a birth mother of a similar background and social history. This is to ensure compatibility through the understanding of the prospective parents’ cultural background, beliefs, and social history and how they align with the birth mother’s. As this is done through an open adoption process, it is possible for the prospective parents to contact a birth mother.
The prospective parents’ ability to speak to the birth mother is important as this helps to build a relationship between the two parties. Since the birth mother chooses the prospective parents for her child, it is important for the birth mother to know the person or people she is giving her child to. By allowing the prospective parents to speak with the birth mother, the birth mother will gain a better understanding of the prospective parents; this knowledge of the prospective parents could be the deciding factor as to whether or not the birth mother eventually chooses these parents. Although the largest step in adopting is being chosen by a birth mother, prospective parents still require to complete the process of open adoption.
In order for prospective parents to adopt a child through open adoption, they must successfully complete an interview with the adoption agency, complete a home study, and have the adoption legalized by the court. The initial interview is merely to uncover the prospective parents’ expectations of the birth mother, while a home study is to determine whether or not the prospective parents are able to provide a stable home environment for a child. The home study also involves fingerprinting through which the agency will confirm that the prospective parents are neither in the child abuse registry nor in the criminal index. Letters of reference are also needed for the home study and may be provided by the adoption agency for court use.
Having the adoption legalized through the court is the final step in the adoption process, whether it is a closed adoption or open adoption. Through the home study and the appearance of both the adoptive parents and adopted child, the court determines whether or not the adoptive parents and adopted child are compatible. If the court finds them to be compatible, the adoption is legalized; however, should the court deem the matching to be incompatible, the adoption is not legalized. Through the open adoption process and the use of an agency, the former is far more likely to occur resulting in a well-matched adoption.
This guest post was written by Dale Hazleton, who works for an adoption agency and knows what parents- both birth and prospective- go through.