Open Adoption with Your Child

Open Adoption Guide: How it Works

Open Adoption can create a lifelong relationship between you, the adoptive family and your child.

  • You get to choose your baby’s adoptive family and begin developing a meaningful relationship.
  • You get to decide what level of contact and what type of contact you wish to have with the adoptive family.
  • You can have an ongoing, loving relationship with your child as he or she grows up.

As a woman experiencing an unplanned pregnancy and considering adoption, you are asking yourself a million questions about the adoption process. Some of those questions may be about the relationship you have with the family that adopts your child and whether or not you can have any long-term contact with them.

The answer to that question is entirely up to you, as you are the one that determines whether or not you wish to have an open adoption. What is an open adoption? We’ll define what this means and what it means for the relationship between you and your child, as well as you and the adoptive family.

Are you ready to get more information about placing your child for adoption? An adoption specialist is ready to help you today!


Studies have shown that most birth mothers and adoptive parents prefer an open adoption and that this arrangement is better for everyone involved, especially the child. Openness in adoption means the birth mother, the adoptive parents and the child develop a relationship beyond the completion of an adoption.

Up until the 1970s, adoption had a negative stigma behind it. Birth mothers were made to feel ashamed for not wanting to or being able to raise their child. Thankfully, things have changed for the better since then, and adoption is now viewed as a loving and caring decision to provide the best possible home and environment for a child.

With an open adoption, the birth mother and adoptive parents agree to a line of communication that builds a foundation for a life-long relationship and keeps the birth parents involved in the child’s life as they grow up.


How does open adoption apply to the adoption process itself? This is when the relationship begins. With the help of an , you will begin to search for families ready to adopt a child. If you’ve decided an open adoption is right for you, your adoption professional will send you profiles of adoptive parents who will also prefer to have an open adoption with you. Once you’ve picked out a family, your adoption professional will help  the initial contact. This could take place via: initial contact. This could take place via:

  • Conference call
  • Email
  • Video chat
  • In-person meeting
  • Pictures and letters

These types of communications will continue up until delivery, with the frequency of contact varying depending on your comfort level.


How does open adoption work after placement? What’s it like to “give a child up” for open adoption and continue that relationship?

The answers to these questions can vary widely and change over time, as no two open adoptions are alike. It will be up to you and the adoptive family you choose to define open adoption and what that looks like for you. However, here are a few common possibilities to be prepared for in a private open adoption after placement:

  • There may be a spike or drop in contact at the beginning. Once the baby is born and the adoption is complete, it’s common for contact and communication to be limited for the first several weeks. This can be a shock, especially if you were in frequent contact during your pregnancy, but it’s to be expected as both you and the adoptive parents are adapting to big changes in your lives. Just remember that this period is not necessarily indicative of how the rest of your domestic open adoption relationship will be; everyone may just need some time to adjust and settle into their new roles. Email is a popular form of communication during this time because it’s less intrusive and allows for each side to reach out and respond at their own pace and comfort level.
  • You and the adoptive parents will settle into a comfortable pattern. Once the two sides re-engage with each other, the contact usually increases to what the two sides agreed upon: pictures, phone calls, emails and the like. This contact will begin to build a lifelong relationship and give you the opportunity to keep up with your baby. Whether it be a holiday, a birthday or the creation of its own special occasion, you and the adoptive parents may decide to schedule post-placement visits, as well.
  • Your relationship will likely ebb and flow over time. While building a strong relationship through the openness of the adoption is an ongoing process, it’s important to note that not unlike any other relationship, the levels of communication can change or ebb and flow at times. A birth mother may decide after a period of time that the openness of the adoption is too much and she may need to dial back some of the communication. As your child grows, you may find that there are times when you want more or less contact with the adoptive family.


With more waiting adoptive parents interested in having an open adoption with the birth mother, the questions of “Do the birth and adoptive families of an adopted child become friends?” can absolutely be answered “yes.” However, that is more or less up to you as the prospective birth mother. It can be extremely rewarding to have an open adoption, but there are certain aspects that could potentially make moving on from the adoption itself difficult. This is dialogue that can be had with an adoption specialist prior to choosing a family, so you can decide what level of openness you’re most comfortable with and what you are looking for in adoptive parents for your baby.

While finding a family can be done independently, a reputable adoption agency like American Adoptions can provide resources to find the perfect family for your child while also guiding you through the process of not only searching for said family, but ensuring there is a full understanding of what an open adoption means.


Now that you know more about open adoption, you may be ready to move forward and find the perfect family to build a meaningful relationship with. Knowing which adoption professionals to contact can be difficult. These are some examples of open adoption agencies that can help you find the right family for you and your baby.

Ready to get started? Contact an adoption agency now to get free information.

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