Exploring the Pros and Cons of Open Adoption
In general, 60% to 70% of adoptions are open. This style of adoption involves the adoptive family and birth family continuing to stay in contact as the child grows up. To see if it will work for your situation, it can be helpful to learn a little about the pros and cons of this adoption type.
Pro: Children Don’t Feel Like They’re Missing Anything
No matter how much love and care you provide your child, the reality is that they did lose an important connection to their past. When a child never gets to see or hear about their birth family, they end up with a lot of questions. An open adoption can help reduce this feeling of having a “missing piece.”
It is fairly common for adoptive children to build up a fantasy when they are not in contact with their birth family. They may romanticize their birth family, obsess over what their life would have been like, or feel like they are missing out on something. Keeping contact with the birth family can help reassure the child that they are in the right place.
Con: Conflicts Between the Two Families
Adoption can be an intensely emotional journey, so there is always some possibility of drama. Adding a second family to the mix may result in some disagreements. Often, the main struggle is just navigating poverty, mental health issues, drug use, or other problems that led to the adoption in the first place.
There can also be conflict due to mismatched expectations. The birth family may be unhappy about the way you choose to raise your child, or you may be unhappy with how much impact the birth family has. Some parents may feel anxious or worried about the idea of their child preferring the birth family, so they might lash out and cause more conflict.
Pro: Children Stay More Connected With Their Background
Contact with the birth family can be especially helpful in cross-cultural adoptions. If the child is of a different race than the adoptive parents, their birth family can provide some perspective on challenges the child might face. Open adoptions also help children to connect more closely with their roots and learn about their genetic background.
This information on your child’s heritage can give them a very valuable sense of stability. It can also help you to better equip your child for a future where they may face discrimination or judgement.
Con: Birth Parents May Struggle to Maintain Appropriate Boundaries
This is often the biggest fear adoptive parents have with an open adoption. Parents worry that open adoptions may make it easier for a birth parent to try to diminish their parental role. The reality is a little more nuanced. Most birth parents are not interested in trying to outright take over your parental responsibilities.
However, there can be awkward instances, like a birth parent showing up unannounced or contacting your child without your knowledge. To prevent this from happening, it can be helpful to have a New Jersey adoption attorney create a clear agreement that schedules visits, calls, and other contact.
Pro: Children Have a Wider Support Circle
Having more people around who love your child is always a good thing. For some families, an open adoption just means a visit every couple of years. However, for some families, open adoption can create some truly special relationships.
Many birth parents are happy to take on the role of a distant relative or family friend. It can mean more people at birthday parties, more holiday presents, and more special memories. This can provide a valuable sense of love and support for your child.
Ultimately, this type of a procedure can help to mitigate some of the stress associated with adoption, but it is important to establish very clear boundaries. This is where Cofsky & Zeidman of Haddonfield can help. Our New Jersey adoption attorney firm can assist you with navigating all the legal agreements of open adoptions. We provide legal support for all types of adoptions, assisted reproductions, and more. Call us at 856-429-5005 or fill out our contact form to set up an appointment.