With open adoption’s rise in popularity, closed adoptions continue to fall out of fashion. But, that’s not to say that closed adoptions have completely disappeared from the adoption world. If you’re curious about a closed adoption, either as a hopeful adoptive family or a prospective birth mother, here is a great place to start to start learning about what to expect.
What is a Closed Adoption?
In today’s adoptions, it is up to the prospective birth mother to choose the type of relationship she wants to have with her child and the adoptive family after placement, whether that’s a fully open, semi-open or closed adoption. Like the name suggests, a closed adoption means that the prospective birth mother will have very little or no contact with her child and the adoptive family after placement. For those looking to pursue a more private or confidential adoption, a closed adoption may initially feel like the best option.
However, while closed adoptions are still a viable option for some birth parents, you should take the time to make sure you fully understand the reality of closed adoption before determining that it is truly what you want as a hopeful adoptive family or a prospective birth mother. If you think that a closed adoption is the best option for yourself and your family, here is more information about closed adoption agencies and closed adoptions.
What are Closed Adoption Agencies?
While it is rare today to find adoption professionals who exclusively arrange closed adoptions, there are closed adoption agencies that understand the need some prospective birth mothers have for privacy and confidentiality after placement. By working with a closed adoption agency, these birth parents still have the opportunity to pick the best family for their child without committing to ongoing contact after the adoption.
If you are a prospective birth parent, there are many adoption agencies that would be more than able to complete a closed adoption for you. You will always be the one in charge of your adoption plan, and you get the final say in the type of adoption and post-adoption relationship that meets your needs.
Is a Closed Adoption an Option for Adoptive Parents?
In some cases, you may also be able to pursue a closed adoption if you’re an adoptive parent. However, very few adoption agencies today can promise an adoptive family a closed adoption, because fewer and fewer birth parents are requesting this type of relationship. In fact, only 5 percent of birth parents in modern adoptions choose closed adoption.
As an adoptive family, this means your chances of being chosen by a prospective birth mother who is only interested in a closed adoption will be very slim. Most women considering an adoption today plan to at least maintain some level of openness with their baby and the adoptive family they pick. Therefore, if you are only interested in maintaining a closed adoption with your child’s birth mother, you will wait for a long time to be chosen by a prospective birth mother who meets your goals for adoption.
Because of this, many private adoption agencies require their potential adoptive families to be comfortable with at least some level of openness. You may be worried about choosing an open adoption because of preconceived ideas about that process, and that’s understandable. Before you get serious about working with a closed adoption agency, however, it’s important that you take the time to research open adoption and all of its benefits. You might start by asking different adoptions agencies about their stance on closed adoption, and how long you should expect to wait for a closed adoption at each agency.
What are the Pros and Cons of a Closed Adoption?
You have a lot to consider when deciding between a closed and open adoption. So, it’s important that you understand the pros and cons of choosing a closed adoption.
If you are leaning toward this type of adoption, here are some benefits that you may experience when working with closed adoption agencies.
- A closed adoption may create more privacy in your life. The adoptive family and child will agree not to reach out to the prospective birth mother unless she allows it (and vice versa).
- If you don’t want your child to be exposed to a harmful or toxic environment, a closed adoption will keep them safe.
- For some women considering an adoption, it can be difficult to watch their child grow up in a different home. Choosing a closed adoption can help protect them from this kind of pain.
- If a birth mother is keeping her adoption plan a secret from certain people in her life, a closed adoption could help her to maintain that privacy.
While some people considering adoption might think that a closed adoption is a better option for everyone involved, research has shown that the positives of open adoption far outweigh the negatives. Here are some common drawbacks to choosing a closed adoption:
- The birth parents won’t have any relationship with their child as they grow up and won’t be able to watch them grow and thrive in their new environment.
- Many women experience feelings of grief and loss after the adoption. For some birth parents, choosing a closed adoption will make it harder for them to truly move forward and feel good about their decision.
- While a prospective birth mother will still be able to find the perfect family for her child by through different adoptive family profiles, she may not have a deep connection to the adoptive family, unlike in an open adoption.
- The child won’t grow up knowing who his or her birth parents are, and as they come into adulthood, they may struggle with their identity and their self-esteem.
- Adoptive parents in a closed adoption may not be able to answer their child’s adoption questions as he or she grows up, which can create resentment and other challenges in their relationship.
- Adoptive parents in closed adoptions may not have access to potentially life-saving medical and family history information for their child.
- With the rise of social media, it is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain complete privacy in adoption. Choosing a closed adoption does not always guarantee that your identifying information will not be discovered by another member of the adoption triad or that they will not find you and reach out to you (or other members of your family) in the future.
Why Should I Research an Open Adoption?
It’s no secret that having a strong, healthy relationship with your parents as you enter into adulthood does wonders for a child’s emotional well-being. Children that have grown up in an open adoption environment understand their adoption story and know that they’re loved from a very young age, by both their adoptive and biological families. They understand that their birth parents chose adoption out of love and are less likely to carry hurt and resentment toward their parents.
Before looking at different closed adoption agencies, remember to think about all of the benefits that an open adoption offers.
Where Can I Find a Closed Adoption Agency?
If you are a prospective birth parent looking for closed adoption agencies that may be able to help you, here are some great agencies that you can contact*:
Remember, as a woman making an adoption plan, it is always up to you to decide what kind of relationship you are comfortable having with your child and the adoptive family you choose. However, if you are considering closed adoption as an adoptive family, understand that your options may be more limited. Most adoption agencies today require families to be accepting of some level of openness with their child’s birth family. If you do find an agency willing to facilitate a closed adoption for you, know that you will likely wait a long time to be chosen for an adoption opportunity.
*While we have done our best to keep this list up to date, there are adoption professionals that may change their stance on closed adoptions, as open adoptions continue to be the preferred option for everyone involved.