Open adoption is an on-going trusting relationship between all members of the adoption circle: birth parents, adoptive parents and the child. At Nebraska Children’s Home Society, we believe in the value of developing an open adoption relationship between all members of the adoption circle. The term can mean different things for different people. Nebraska Children’s Home Society defines an open adoption as disclosing identifying information and creating an ongoing relationship with all of the members of the adoption circle. This is achieved by education and support for all members of the adoption circle.
At one time, adoption had been a very secretive process. Children were placed for adoption with either no information or very little non-identifying information about their birth mothers. Birth parents were not involved in selecting the family that would become the parents to their child nor would birth parents have known where their child was placed. This is seldom true today. Typically, pregnancy or parenting clients choose the family they would like to become parents to their child. The majority of placements through NCHS have a direct ongoing relationship. Birth parents and adoptive parents spend time together, e-mail one another, and share letters and pictures.
An important part of our educational efforts at Nebraska children’s Home Society includes educating all members of the adoption circle on openness. Most birth parents and adoptive couples begin to see the value in the openness as they learn more about open adoption.
In recent years, openness has allowed birth parents to come out of the shadows and be recognized as an important part in their child’s life. Openness allows the child to have his or her questions answered and to let them know that they are loved by their birth parents.
Is open adoption similar to co-parenting?
Open adoption is not co-parenting. A co-parenting situation occurs when all parental figures have equal authority, roles and access. Once relinquishments are signed, birth parents have no rights or authority to their child. Birth parent involvement with their child and the adoptive family is built on trust and mutual respect for one another. Birth parents and adoptive parents commit to one another to develop a relationship for not only the sake of the child but for each other.
What are the benefits of open adoption?
Open adoption has been embraced by adoptive families and birth families because of the benefits it offers.
For the Child: Studies show that children of open adoption grow up with:
- A better sense of identity
- Access to their medical and biological history
- Understanding of the reason(s) their birth parents chose adoption
For Adoptive Parents: Studies show that adoptive parents experience several benefits with open adoption:
- Access to the birth parents’ medical histories and personalities
- Eliminates the fear of the unknown birth parent “coming back”
- Knowledge of information, such as names and addresses
- A relationship with their child’s birth family
For Birth Parents: The benefits of open adoption for birth parents include:
- Reassurance of knowing their birth child is safe and thriving
- Allows them to answer their birth child’s questions about his or her adoption and origin
- A relationship with their child and their child’s family
Another point of view
It is important for adoptive couples to look at open adoption from their child’s and birth parents’ point of view. Imagine not knowing where you came from and why you were adopted. The birth parents made a difficult decision to make an adoption plan and are entrusting you to parent their child. Please visit our Pregnancy page to learn more about birth parents
It is normal to have questions
Open adoption may be difficult to understand until it becomes a part of your life. This is why Nebraska Children’s Home Society provides education, resources and real life testimonials for you to see and hear how other adoptive couples have made open adoption a part of their lives. Please call us with your questions regarding open adoption. We are here to help you make this the best situation for everyone involved.
A story on open adoption
Click here to see how birth parents, adoptive parents and the child benefited from open adoption.
Contact Kim Schenkelberg, Adoption Intake Coordinator
4939 S. 118th St.
Omaha, NE 68137