While closed adoption is often the type of adoption most often portrayed in the media, open adoption is growing in popularity daily. Research and time has proven that, when it’s possible, open adoption is healthiest for both family and child. When adoption is a child’s normal, it will be easier to process as they get older and differentiate between relationships with adoptive and birth families. However, open adoption is not always an option for one reason or another. Closed adoption may be used to protect a child in many ways, usually physically or emotionally.
Choosing a closed adoption may seem like the easiest option; however, it is not always the healthiest for a child’s development. Many placements come from places of necessity and not necessarily a safety issue. However, there are situations where closed adoption may be the best option. If a child has been previously abused, a closed adoption may be used to protect them from their perpetrator. Some birth parents will ask for a closed adoption to protect their child from a violent spouse or partner, while they themselves have not been the abuser. Closed adoption may also be used to protect a child from knowledge of why they were placed if placement was due to a sexual assault or other crime.
It has previously been commonplace for adoptive parents to sometimes feel that closed adoption would be the best option so their child is not “confused” or somehow doesn’t feel like “less than” a member of the family. It is with time and research that we have found this ideology to be largely unfounded. Children typically do great with and love hearing about their adoption stories early on. The earlier they know, the easier and more normal adoption will feel. If they are able to have a relationship with their birth families, it removes the mystery and secrecy that adoption can hold. It also allows them to have a sense of self when it comes to heritage and culture. This also allows for healing and growth for the birth family. Open adoption can sometimes be hard and perhaps require a lot of pride swallowing, but when possible, it is very worth it and very healthy!
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