Being pregnant can be both a beautiful and frightening time-especially if it is unplanned. For some women, the decision to keep the child is easy, but for others it isn't; however, if the birth mother is unable to keep the baby, her pregnancy can be a blessing for someone else, and deciding to consider adoption could be the best option for all of the involved parties. In the past this would have meant handing the newborn over to strangers and never hearing about or seeing the child again, but, for obvious reasons, that option is losing popularity-for both the birth mother and the adoptive parents-and open adoptions are becoming a popular choice.
Open adoption allows both sets of parents to get to know each other, providing birth parents with the comfort of knowing what life will be like for their baby and adoptive parents the knowledge of where their baby came from. And these adoptions can be as varied as the people who are involved.
There is a lot to think about when you are considering adoption. It calls for thinking ahead and being honest with yourself about what you want for you and your baby. Is it important for you to know how your baby is being raised? That he or she is safe and healthy? Will you or your family want to know the child and have the child know about your family? In an open adoption, birth parents get to know the adoptive parents before the baby is born, and in some cases stay in some form of contact for the rest of the child's life. The degree, frequency and type of contact are things that are legally agreed on before the baby is born. Open adoption does not mean you will help raise the child-all parental rights and responsibilities rest with the adoptive parents. This type of adoption simply means that you have the chance to select the parents of your baby, and you get to have a sense of the life your child may have in the future.
For adoptive parents it may seem like open adoption would be a less popular choice. After all, aren't two sets of parents going to confuse things? Having the adoption plan set out beforehand puts everyone on the same page so everyone knows what to expect after the baby is born. The amount of openness of an adoption can vary widely, and adoptive parents need to work with adoption professionals that can help them find the level that is right for them. Open adoptions mean adoptive parents have access to the medical history as well as additional information about the child's birth family that they could only guess at under a closed adoption. This can be very important when it comes to health concerns.
In many ways it is the quest for adopted children to know their parents that led to more openness in adoptions, but there are definite benefits to both sets of parents as well. In an open adoption parents never have to feel anxiety about a child wanting to find out about their birth parents. Depending on the level of openness, they may already know everything there is to know. There is comfort in the selection process for the birth parents, and in being chosen for the adoptive parents. As well, there is comfort in knowing where your baby is going and where it came from. Think about the future and then decide if open adoptions are the right choice for you and your family.