What Is an Open Adoption?
Whether a couple is experiencing fertility issues, is unable to conceive for any reason, or simply wants to enlarge their family, adopting a child can be a joyful decision. There are two ways to adopt: a closed or open adoption. In an open adoption, the biological parents, or just the mother, are known, and the family maintains contact with them.
How Does Open Adoption Work?
With open adoption, the birth mother decides to give up her child so that another family can adopt him or her. It can take a lot for a parent to reach this conclusion, but in some cases, open adoption is a more attractive option because it allows the biological mother to remain in the child’s life.
The biological mother gets to choose the adoptive parents. However, until she signs final relinquishment papers that give the adoptive parents all legal rights to the child, she is free to change her mind. While this is very rare, it does occasionally happen.
Open adoption can mean that the birth family remains in contact in different ways. Some families choose to allow regular visits while others may let the birth mother and her child stay in contact through email. A New Jersey adoption attorney can help the parents decide the best option for their family.
What Are the Benefits of Open Adoption?
Open adoption is often the right course of action for families looking to adopt. It allows for more opportunities to avoid uncomfortable situations once the child grows older and starts to ask questions. If a child knows that they are adopted, they will naturally ask their parents questions once they reach a certain age. Open adoption often allows many of those questions to already be answered or answered sooner.
The child’s genetic information is easier to access with open adoption. Asking the birth mother about any medical conditions that run in her family can give a better idea of what to possibly expect in the future. It allows you to take certain precautions and gives you awareness of how to better protect your child’s health. This also includes heritage information, which helps the child know his or her religious or ethnic background.
With open adoption, the child doesn’t have to go searching for their biological mother in the future. All the information is readily available, and the birth mother is already in their life. Even if a child and their birth mother have never met, having steady contact makes it easier to eventually meet in person.
What Are the Disadvantages of Open Adoption?
One of the most common disadvantages is that there may be certain problems that arise regarding the boundaries expected from the birth mother or family. They may wish to have a closer relationship with the child that steps over the line of what was stated in the adoption papers. The birth mother may feel overly attached and have difficulty moving on.
As previously mentioned, the birth mother can change her mind before she signs the final adoption papers. This is every adoptive parent’s worst nightmare. However, even if the birth mother decides she wants the child back after the final papers are signed, it can cause serious problems. It could end up with litigation that can cause a rift even though the birth mother doesn’t have legal rights to the child.
Sometimes, open adoption isn’t always the best arrangement for the child. Things can happen, and personalities may clash. If there are issues with drug or alcohol abuse or different values, it could create problems for the child. Some people who were adopted end up regretting ever reaching out to their biological family due to various reasons. In some cases, the child may feel as though they are caught in the middle of their family and their birth mother while a power struggle is occurring. This is never a healthy situation.
If you’re considering adoption, get in touch with a New Jersey adoption attorney at Cofsky & Zeidman LLC by calling (856) 429-5005 or by submitting our contact form.