7 Reasons Open Adoption is Beneficial to Adoptees

People who were adopted deserve the same benefits others take for granted.

Sarah M. Baker October 26, 2015

Open adoption isn’t just a trendy fad like the Birkin bag we all have our eye on, so why does it seem to be getting so much buzz lately? It’s because open adoption vs. closed adoption has actually been studied and found to be beneficial to adoptees. But why is open adoption so important to those who were adopted? With adoptions of the past being mostly closed, we learned a lot of valuable lessons and took the necessary steps to make changes to help children who were adopted with the many things they felt they were lacking. What can open adoption offer your child and your family? Why should a birth mother be willing to keep communication open? The answers are simple.



Are you considering placing a child for adoption? Not sure what to do next? First, know that you are not alone. Visit Adoption.org or call 1-800-ADOPT-98 to speak to one of our Options Counselors to get compassionate, nonjudgmental support. We are here to assist you in any way we can.

Sense of identity
1. Sense of identity

Knowing who you look like and why you have certain characteristics provides a sense of belonging and an understanding of where you fit in the world. It can be tough not understanding yourself, and an open adoption can provide those ties.

Medical knowledge
2. Medical knowledge

It’s easy to take for granted knowing what allergies, ailments, predispositions, and other things we have in our family. A child from adoption does not always have that luxury. Open adoption can come with a lot more information on family medical history from the beginning, as well as having an open door if unexpected worries arise.

Understanding the adoption placement situation
3. Understanding the adoption placement situation

A child who was adopted often struggles with understanding the reasons behind adoption placement. Not only do children often look to blame themselves for their adoption placement, but they often create fantasy worlds about their birth families. With open adoption, they don’t have to fear the worst or play make-believe. They have the truth available to them at age-appropriate times.

More love
4. More love

One of my favorite quotes “If a mother and father can love more than one child then why is it so hard to understand that a child can love more than one mother and father?” Not only does the child have more people to love, but it never hurts to have more people to love a child!

Never “finding out” they are adopted
5. Never “finding out” they are adopted

Imagine the trauma that many children in closed adoptions faced if they were not told they were adopted from the beginning, if adoption wasn’t a topic they discussed from a young age. It is much more common in open adoptions for children to just KNOW they are adopted because it’s never sprung on them, but rather incorporated as part of their birth story.

Relationships with birth siblings and other extended family
6. Relationships with birth siblings and other extended family

Something that most closed adoptions are lacking is a relationship with birth siblings or other extended family members. When and if an adoptee decides to search for their birth family, they are scrambling to make up for lost time or are too late if the family member has passed away. With an open adoption, children are able to have a relationship with their siblings and extended family members that can make them feel whole and connected.

Not fearing hurting the feelings of adoptive parents
7. Not fearing hurting the feelings of adoptive parents

A major fear for many children in closed adoptions is hurting their parents if they decide to search for their birth family. Some adoptive parents don’t want to even broach the subject that the first family ever existed. However, out of sight does not mean out of mind for the person who was adopted. In an open adoption, the knowledge and information is always there and the child can have the confidence to know their parents are not only supportive but eager to help them with building their relationship with their birth family.

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Sarah M. Baker

Sarah is a Staff Storyteller for Adoption.com and passionate about teaching others the power of open adoption. She is very active in the adoption community, where she spends a lot of time advocating as the founder of Heart For Open Adoption. She is the mom of two boys in addition to parenting her niece. She is a mother biologically and through domestic infant open adoption. Sarah promotes adoption education and ethical adoptions. She and her husband were featured on Season 2 of Oxygen’s “I’m Having Their Baby,” which tells the story of their first adoption match failing. Sarah hopes to bring her personal experience to you and help anyone who wants more information about adoption to find it with ease. Though it was once a taboo subject, Sarah hopes to make adoption something people are no longer afraid to talk about. You can learn more about Sarah and her family on her blog.

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