Misconceptions about Open Adoption

Here are a few common misconceptions on how open adoptions work.

  1. Open adoption is confusing to the child. This is false! Children growing up in open adoptions do understand the difference between parents and birth parents. In healthy open adoptions, both adoptive and birth parents help define their own roles and responsibilities.
  2. Open adoption is a form of co-parenting. This is false! Open adoption is not shared custody between adoptive and birth parents. Adoptive parents have full legal responsibilities over the child once the adoption is complete.
  3. All open adoptions eventually turn into closed adoptions at some point. This is false! As in any relationship, contact with one another can change as life events happen. It is important that the unique relationships formed through open adoption are recognized and honored. All relationships involve challenges at some point. The key to positive relationships is mutual understanding and respect. When children know their adoption story from the very beginning there is less chance for resentment about being adopted.

Adoptive and birth parents are supported through each stage of the adoption process at LSS. Birth parents receive free options counseling and decision making services. Adoptive parents are provided education to equip them for successful adoptions. For more information on how open adoption works, or for pregnancy counseling services, contact LSS at 605-221-2346, toll free at 888-201-5061, or http://www.LssSD.org.

-Submitted by Hayley Van Den Brink, Supervisor, Adoption Program

One Response to Misconceptions about Open Adoption

  1. Unfortunately there are a lot of agencies doing open adoption that require you to sign a visitation contract with the birth parents, rather than allowing the adoptive and birth parents to see where things go on their own. We chose semi-open adoption for that exact reason so we as adopting parents as well as the birth parents can come up with something that is not a legal contract. Those visitation contracts are what scare a lot of people away from doing open adoption, and I can tell you after going to one agency’s $500 “training” there was very little focus on the adoptive parents and almost 100% focus on these visitation contracts that we would be required to sign, and about the families going on vacation together, not to mention the child going on vacations with the birth parents alone. If you are like my husband and I and have struggled with infertility for years, only to be told by an adoption agency that you have to schedule visitations with the birth mother, rather than be trusted to do what you think is best for your child and create a relationship with the birth family on your own, it makes you gun-shy of the idea of open adoption. My husband and I have no interest in closed adoption, but we do find it very important to feel respected as the adopting parents, which a lot of agencies actually don’t do.

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