Types of adoption
Adoption is the legal transfer of parental rights
from biological to adoptive parents resulting in full family
Today, there are three forms of adoption:
- Traditional Semi-open; and
Identifying information about the members of the adoption triad
is withheld from the others. Information may only be available
as a result of a court order, if at all.
Traditional Confidential or Semi-Open Adoption
and adoptive families may share information only on a limited
basis or through intermediaries such as adoption attorneys or
agencies. Traditionally, parties to an adoption had access to
adoption and birth information. It was not until the latter half
of the 20th century that such access was restricted.
There are many definitions for open adoption but it is basically
when birth and adoptive families work together to forge a plan
for openness in adoption. This could range from simply exchanging
identifying information to the birth family having a continuing
role in a child's life. Open arrangements could also change over
time, depending on the needs of those involved. Advocates for
open adoption suggest that the only way to define an open adoption
is one in which birth parent and child have formed a relationship.
Many agencies began some form of open adoption in the late 1980s in an effort to remain competitive with private, attorney-assisted adoptions, which addressed the growing desire of birth mothers to have a larger role in the adoption process as well as some post-adoption contact.
The quintessential study done by the
universities of Minnesota and Texas
on the subject has resulted in two books and several publications. Studies suggest that birth and adoptive parents have met in the majority adoptions.
Questions often arise as to whether children in open adoptions
will become confused as to who their parents are. In fact, they
tend to normalize such relationships as they do any extended family
Birth mothers in fully disclosed adoption are more satisfied
with their role in relation to the adoptee than those with no
contact, according to a
publication from the Minnesota/Texas study.
Adoptive parents in "open" or semi-open adoptions, while reporting initial reservations - particularly about sharing their children's loyalty and about whether the relationship will turn into co-parenting - invariably agree their concerns did not materialize. Instead, they tell researchers that a greater flow of information from, and contact with, the birth family allows them to make better parenting decisions, while the adoptees themselves indicate no confusion about adult roles. Open adoption is also leading to a positive shift in how birth mothers are viewed and treated, according to Open Hearts, an article by Gabrielle Glaser in the October 24, 2004 Oregonian.
Studies have shown:
- Birth mothers view open adoption positively.
- Adoptive parents appreciate having contact.
- Fears birth parents would undermine or intrude on the family
did not materialize.
- Open adoption does not compromise adoptive parents' security