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Common Questions About Open Adoption
How much contact is involved in an open adoption?
There is no 'one size fits all' with open adoption. You, along with the adoptive parents, will have to decide what works best for you and your child. The frequency of visits (and other forms of communication) is going to vary based on the feelings and desires of the people involved. One birthmother may see her child quite often if she lives in the same state as her child and adoptive family, while another may only see her child once a year due to the great distance between them. Another birthmother may want to see her child every few months because it makes her feel good to see her child healthy and happy, while another may only want very infrequent visits because it is all she can handle at that point in time.
Can the adoptive parents close the adoption at any time?
Unfortunately, once you have signed papers terminating your parental rights you no longer have any rights to your child. The adoptive parents have say over how and when contact will occur. Some states do have written post-contact agreements. But oftentimes, they can be hard to enforce.
Will open adoption be confusing to my child?
Some believe that open adoption is confusing to the adoptee. But in actuality, if open adoption is child-centered and the birth and adoptive parents have a healthy, loving relationship, it can actually be beneficial to the child - removing the mystery of biological connections and allowing the child to have a higher sense of self. You will also be there to provide your child with answers to any questions he / she may eventually have about why you chose adoption. You can also provide a direct link to any family medical information as it is needed over the years. And you can also help foster a relationship between any other children you may be parenting now or in the future.
Is open adoption the same as co-parenting?
Some people see open adoption as co-parenting. But co-parenting is defined as sharing parenting decisions, financial responsibilities, and physical custody of a child with another person. Birthmothers do not do that. Once a mother terminates her parental rights, the adoptive parents take on all responsibilities as if the child were born to them. This includes day-to-day parenting decisions, all financial responsibility, and physical custody.
Can my extended family be involved in my open adoption?
One of the positives in making an open adoption plan is that it can be customized in ways that the birth and adoptive parents are both comfortable with. For example, you and the adoptive parents can agree to future involvement with your extended family members (such as the baby's grandparents).
What will my child call me?
This is something you will need to discuss with your child's adoptive parents, as it typically varies. But the most common answer to this question is your first name. Some birthmothers and adoptive parents have decided upon names like 'madre', which means mother in Spanish.