What is Open Adoption?
"Knowing Liam and being a part of his life is important to me because it validates that I made the right choice. Watching him grow and flourish gives me strength and makes me proud to be his birthmother."
Video produced by Bruce Sellery on Vimeo
What is Open Adoption?
Adoption has changed dramatically over the years. What used to be so secretive and closed, has evolved into a process that is based on honesty, openness and loving relationships. Open adoption is adoption that brings birth and adoptive families together, and recognizes how important they all are to each other and to the child.
In an open adoption, birthparents are empowered and involved in the adoption process. This means that the birthmother selects the family for her baby, there is a face to face meeting with the adoptive family (in most cases), there is an exchange of full identifying information, and there is an agreement for some form of ongoing contact. Four key principles of successful open adoptions are:
- Choice: There is genuine choice by the birthparents
- Candor: There is credible, trustful exchange of information
- Connection: There is proximity and contact by the families
- Commitment: There is familial, extended commitment
Choosing a Family
In an open adoption, birthparents who are considering adoption choose the family they want to raise their child from our list of approved families. Each prospective adoptive family undergoes a thorough process of screening, education and preparation for open adoption. They provide background information, photos and a "Dear Birthparent" letter - all of which are available to interested birthparents.
Birthparents have complete control in selecting a family. They may specify age, religion, lifestyle, number of children in the family, location or any other factors important to them. They usually wish to meet the family and are willing to exchange identifying information. Most often, plans are made for an ongoing relationship following the placement.
The nature and frequency of the relationship may vary greatly, depending upon the wishes of both the birthparents and the adoptive parents. Nearly everyone makes an agreement for the exchange of letters and pictures. Most families truly embrace the concept of open adoption and are able to develop a comfortable and respectful relationship centred on the child. Many birth and adoptive families have relationships similar to "in-laws" - extended family with phone calls, visits and close connections.
“Stephanie is such an important part of our family. I can’t imagine raising Liam without her being a part of his life, to celebrate his milestones and the joys, right alongside us.” Jean (adoptive mom)