An adoption can be open, semi-open or closed. Adoptive Parents and Birth Parents often begin their adoption journeys unsure of what kind of relationship they want with each other and unsure of what kind of relationship will be best for the Birth Parents and adopted child.
It is important for Adoptive Parents and Birth Parents to connect with their adoption agencies/professionals and be honest of what their expectations are for the relationship as well as discuss any questions or any fears that they may have.
Every relationship will be unique and will be determined by the comfort level of the Birth Parents and Adoptive Parents and it may also change over time.
In an open adoption, the Adoptive Parents and Birth Parents share contact during the pregnancy and after the birth. There is not one level of openness that works for all adoptions so this can mean sharing photos, phone calls, texts and sometimes even visits.
Most experts and adoption professionals will agree that an open adoption is the healthiest for those involved but they also stress that the level of openness should always focus on meeting the needs of the child, not the Adoptive Parents or the Birth Parents.
In a semi-open adoption, Birth Parents and Adoptive Parents will share non-identifying information and the communication between Birth Parents and Adoptive Parents will typically be handled by their adoption agency/professional.
In a closed adoption, no information or contact is shared between the Adoptive Parents and Birth Parents.
In the past, almost all adoptions in the US were closed, but today, most adoptions will have some level of openness.
Post Adoption Contact Agreements
A Post Adoption Contact Agreement ( PACA ) is an agreement that allows for certain, specified contact between the Birth Parents and Adoptive Parents. Laws on PACAs will vary from state to state. Some states will enforce them so long as they serve the best interest of the child and other states will either prohibit or not enforce them.