Open Adoption or Closed Adoption?

Should adoption records for approximately 350,000 adoptees be allowed to be opened?

Meghan Rivard March 17, 2015
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Should adoption records be allowed to be opened? What impact would that have on the adoptees or the birth parents? In Indiana, there is a legislation, SB 352, currently before the House that would allow adoption records between 1941 and 1993 to be opened. This means that adoptees placed within that time frame would be able to find information about their biological parents. The only way this could be blocked would be if the biological mother signed a “no-contact” form, which would keep the records sealed. It is estimated that this legislation would open the records of approximately 350,000 adoptees (Indiana General Assembly).

Naturally, there are supporters on both sides of this issue. SB 352 would open the adoption records unless the birth mother comes forward and signs a form. Opponents to this bill say that the present way of contact, using an anonymous mediator, works. So why change it?

How would the biological parents be made aware of this bill if it is enacted? Is this a breach in their confidentiality? What impact would it have on the birth parents if they didn’t know about this bill and were suddenly contacted by the child they placed?

I am a proponent of open adoption. We have an open adoption with our daughter’s birth parents. I think it is important for her identity to know her background. I think it is important for her to know her heritage and culture. (This would especially be the case if an adoption is a transracial adoption.) It is also important for her to have a medical history from her biological parents, especially to know if any medical issues, such as cancer, are prevalent.

There is also research that supports open adoption when it is possible. For adoptees, it helps young children to understand the concept of adoption. Birth parents work through their grief faster as they made a plan for the child. For both adoptive parents and birth parents, it helps because the adoptive parents were usually chosen by the birth parents and they can have a supportive relationship (Open Adoption Benefits).

What do you think? Are you for or against this bill?

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Meghan Rivard

Meghan is an adoptive mother and a big advocate of adoption and foster care. She resides in Indiana with her husband, their one-year-old daughter who is the center of their lives, and their dog Max. She has a Bachelor's and Master’s Degree in Social Work. Meghan stays at home with her daughter but is so happy she found this outlet to share her personal adoption story and educate about adoption!

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