The concept of adoption was not legally recognized in the United States until the 1850’s, with the inception of the first adoption laws. While transfers of children to substitute parents or now known as “adoptive parents” had occurred informally since American colonial times, adoption laws legitimized the informal adoptive arrangements which previously existed. There are now two different forms of adopting a child: open or closed adoptions. Although there are two options for adoption, all adoptions should be considered closed until an adoptee is 21.
The adoption process for closed adoptions differs from the open adoption process and has more benefits. The open adoption process, is in which the adoptive parents actually meet and usually stay in touch with the birthparents. Birthparents voice in choosing their child’s adoptive parents. Both open adoption and closed adoption use agencies or a lawyer, but in open adoption the agency gives the birthparents biographies of prospective adoptive parents, and the birthparents pick the family they are most comfortable with or “click” (Winerip 1).
Compared to closed adoption, the prospective adoptive family would put their name on a list, and wait for the social worker to make a match. This doesn’t involve the need of personalities between families to match, just the potential factor of a good child support system which is the most important aspect. “Conversely, if they want a closed adoption, they shouldn’t be pressured into an open adoption because adopters may find it harder to fulfill their side of the agreement such as: sending the birthmother photos or visiting” (“Family Education” 2).
Also, in open adoption the birthparents and adoptive parents meet, and might be in touch frequently during the pregnancy while closed adoption the adoptive parents didn’t know where the child came from, or who his or her birthparents were which gives them more of sense that the child belongs to them and deserves all their love as if it was given birth by the adoptive mother. Many times the adoptive parents in an open adoption are able to witness their child’s birth and some of these families stay in touch through their adoption agency, especially on birthdays and holidays.
Others become friends or create somewhat of an “extended family”. During closed adoption however, there is no contact between birth and adoptive families. This gives both families a sense of closure. Through the closed adoption process no identifying information is provided, giving a type of curiosity back to the adoptive parents on what their child may look like instead of seeing the birth mother and assuming that that child will look like her. They are only given non-identifying information (e. g. , height in the birth family, potential hair color, medical history, ect. is provided through the third party such as the agency or attorney.
When adoptions are closed, the files are usually physically sealed until the age of 21 to the adoptee and the adoptive parents giving everyone a sense of closure (Thompson 1). Closed adoption and open adoption have a key difference including the involvement of the birthparents from their point of view that is more beneficial when the adoption is closed. Open adoption birth parents experience a sense of less guilt as a benefit (Gray 27) of the adoption but what benefit does the child rear?
Adoption should be more for the child and less for the birth parents emotional ground. But closed adoption does give the birth parents privacy because “placing a child for adoption is an extremely sensitive and vulnerable choice. Having a closed adoption creates an opportunity for a stronger sense of privacy,” (“N. A. I. C. H. ” 1) and it can also reduce fear because “some birth mothers are concerned about explaining their choice, and a closed adoption serves as a way to prevent them from a confrontation with a child placed for adoption” (“N. A. I. C. H. ” 1).
Closed adoption rids the birth parents of the responsibility they were not ready for in the first place and gives the child a chance at a better life with more responsible individuals. In some cases, closed adoption kills two birds with one stone by riding a birth parent of the embarrassment of not being prepared or financially stable for a child while giving the adoptive child a chance for a better life with an adoptive family that is looking for a child to give love and a good life too. Closed adoption is more beneficial from the Adoptive parents’ viewpoint rather than open adoption.
Open adoption gives the birth parents the option to demand wants of the adoptive parents and those demands may cross boundaries. In a sense, an adoptive family may get the feeling of “affirmation- As an adoptive family, you may experience a sense of empowerment or encouragement knowing that you were chosen as the adoptive family” (“N. A. I. C. H. ” 2) but birth parents may still want to be in the adoptee’s life as extended family but two mom’s and two dad’s? Would that not confuse a small child? With closed adoption, the adoptive parents have full responsibility and there is no answering to birth parents or any fuzzy oundaries of rules and expectations for a child such as “birth parent interference or co-parenting concerns” (“N. A. I. C. H. ” 1).
The adoptive family is given the full privilege of raising their adoptive child how they would like to and “family freedom- if the birth families are not involved, the adoptive family is free to have their family time without restraints of visitations and on-going communication” (“N. A. I. C. H. ” 1). It is even up to the adoptive family to decide to tell child that he/she is adopted.
Closed adoption is safer for the adoptive child rather than open adoption and has more benefits. Open adoptions give the child his/her identity and suppose that by chance the birth parents are properly functioning human beings, which would give the adopted child an extended family that was healthy (“American Pregnancy Association” 1). On the other hand though, what if the child doesn’t wish to know their birth parents because he/she was adopted or their birth parents have issues or mental problems that are not healthy for the child to be around or interact with? Closed adoption eliminates these possibilities.
Unless the adoptive child specifically asks who they really are, the child could be completely fine without knowing they’re adopted and have a normal family with one mom and one dad. More often than none, the adoptee’s birth parents give them up for adoption for a reason. This includes the possibilities of an unplanned pregnancy, lacking financially, or just simply aren’t ready for the responsibility. The purpose of adoption is to give the adoptee a better life than it would’ve originally had. In the end, the child still has the option of finding their birth parents records when they are of the age to legally obtain that information.