Thursday, July 26, 2012

Semi Open Adoption: From My Perspective

Today's post comes from Brandi who has adopted both internationally and domestically and is one of our Give1 Domestic bloggers. Her blog home is at

Every domestic adoptive family has to make a life changing decision in their adoption process. Most adoptive parents leave this choice to their children's biological parent/parents.

Ever hear of closed adoption and wonder what this means? Here is the definition of semi-open adoption I found online:

*Semi-Open Adoptions: A form of adoption that is intentionally designed to be a combination of a more traditional closed adoption and a more progressive open adoption, with the emphasis being on the "privacy" of all parties, rather than on "confidentially." Direct communication after the adoption is more limited, in the fashion that is agreed by the parties to be beneficial for everyone. Last names, addresses, and telephone numbers are usually not exchanged, while the sharing of photographs or other information for an agreed frequency and duration is common. All communication takes place through a third party, which is usually an adoption agency, an adoption attorney or a designated intermediary.

A semi-open adoption is the type of adoption we have with our son's biological mom. We wanted a completely open adoption, but we also wanted to respect our son's biological mom's choice and so we let her choose. While our situation with our son's biological mom is not exactly the same as the definition above we went with what we were most comfortable with and it works for us.

At first when we received the call she wanted a closed adoption. By the time we were ready to leave the hospital she changed her mind and chose a semi-open adoption. It's important that every family chooses the right decision for them. Semi-open adoption gave us (the adoptive parents) the option to be as open as possible to D (our son's biological mom) while also giving her the option to be as open or as closed as she wants. We agreed to exchange phone numbers, email, and her address as well as our Po Box, send her pictures and updates a few times a year because that is what we were comfortable with doing. She agreed to accept these updates, but at the same time she can choose to open those updates when and if she is ready. This works for our family. I love our semi-open adoption with D. She is an incredible woman and someone I want my son to be proud to have as a biological mom. She is a very special part of him and that is why I love her so much. She took care of him and herself for the 9 months he spent in her womb. She also made the best decision she could for him. I've always thought highly of mothers who are able to put their children and their children's needs before their own. That's what D did for our son.

I know that not every situation is like ours. Ultimately in making the decision closed, semi-open, or open adoption you should first think about your child/children. What is best for them? For example: D is not a bad example for our son. She is an incredible woman and when my son meets her I hope he sees D as a hero. She is someone I don't mind him looking up to because I know she wouldn't be a bad example for him. A friend of mine adopted a sibling group (2) through foster care. After the adoption was final she made every attempt to keep it open for as long as she could, but a few months later she had to sever ties with their biological mom because she was being a bad example. It was a painful decision for my friend to make, but she made the best decision she could during that time. She hopes that their biological mom will become the example their children need her to be, but until then the adoption is closed with hopes that eventually it can be opened again.

As a potential adoptive parent you should not agree to an open or semi-open adoption in an attempt to get a baby. I've heard of some adoptive parents agreeing to an open or semi open adoption with their biological child's mom and then when their child was born they closed it for no reason other than just agreeing to whatever the biological mom wanted before the baby was born so that they could get a baby. This is NOT right and if you don't think you can handle an open or semi open adoption then do NOT agree to one. This is something very important to discuss with your agency. If you are not open to a semi-open or open adoption then make sure your adoption agency does not show you to potential biological parents who do want a semi or open adoption. It's not fair to them and it's not fair to you.

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