What Is Open Adoption?
How Do Abrazo’s Adoptions Work?
You may be wondering “what is open adoption?” The short answer is that open adoption is the (very open) secret of how Abrazo’s adoptions work out so well, and have for more than 28 years and counting.
Open adoptions allow the most important decisions to be made by all the parents who are planning the adoption on a child’s behalf. Abrazo offers personalized private adoption planning, which honors each placing parent’s individual needs and desires. The prospective birthparents have the right to select which adoptive couple they want to raise their child. They can get to personally know the people they choose to match with, and can also maintain direct contact with the adoptive parents after placement, as agreed upon by all, provided the child’s best interests continue to be everyone’s first priority.
Open adoption arrangements at Abrazo can allow for the adults to agree to exchange periodic updates and photos, and to talk and/or text or see each other on occasion, but common courtesy and mutual respect are always a crucial part of every open adoption relationship, of course. (As the legal parents, the adoptive parents have to decide what access or communication should (or should not) involve the child, until the adoptee is an adult and can decide for themself. Have more questions? Call Abrazo (1-210-342-5683 or 1-800-454-5683) and let’s talk about what feels right for you.
Abrazo believes in fully open adoption, because it’s based on honesty and trust and we know these things are good for children! Open adoption is not about “co-parenting”–it’s about cooperation and commitments that honor the welfare of all parties involved. It may seem scary if you don’t know what it’s about? But in its simplest form, openness is about keeping kids connected to the truth, and that’s a good thing. (Remember, though: adoption is a permanent solution, so it should never be used to resolve a temporary problem.) Openness doesn’t make adoption easier, but it can definitely make it better (especially for adoptees.)
Open adoption is a kinder, gentler way to doing adoption, for adoptees, birthparents and adoptive parents. It enhances identity formation for adoptees, so they grow up with a healthier sense of who they are and where they belong. Open adoption can help lessen some of the post-adoption loss and regrets that birthparents in closed adoptions traditionally experienced. And open adoption helps adoptive parents feel more secure in their parenting role, too. They feel more secure in their bonding and attachments, knowing they have the birthparent’s blessing to love their child/ren.
What is Open Adoption?
Open adoption is adoption by the Golden Rule, basically: treat others as you would want to be treated, if you were in their shoes. In Abrazo’s adoptions, our placing parents and adopting families get to know each other personally and exchange identifying information before placement. After placement, they keep in touch directly in the years that follow, just like the relatives that they are. Contact includes letters and pictures, phone calls, texts, Skyping/FaceTime and/or visits. (Many Abrazo birthfamilies and adoptive families also reunite at Camp Abrazo each summer.) Open adoption helps all the parents feel at peace with each other. Most importantly, though, it enables adoptees to grow up knowing their roots, successfully integrating all those components in their identity formation. (Or to put it more simply: open adoption helps adoptees to grow up whole.)
Don’t believe those other places that claim open adoption means placing a child with someone who won’t share their last name. Healthy birthfamilies don’t just “move on” and lose interest in their child’s welfare eventually. Nor should post-adoption communication always involve a third party intermediary, like an agency or attorney. With open adoption, each Abrazokid can grow up knowing who his/her birthparents are from the start, because he or she has loving parents who know that telling the truth from the start is the very best way to prevent confusion, fear and shame.
What Are the Laws Concerning Openness?
In Texas, like most states, open adoption agreements are still considered a matter of trust. Texas has no laws (yet) allowing legal enforcement of any voluntary agreements between birthparents and adoptive parents to keep in touch after finalization. This is why it’s important for both the birthparents and the adopting parents to know they can trust each other to keep their promises, for the child’s sake.
Nobody can force any of the parties in any adoption to have contact or continue communication if they don’t want to, after the adoption is completed, but at Abrazo, we have our clients decide together how much contact is right, and we encourage them to put those plans in writing, so everybody knows what to expect. Abrazo provides its clients with a printed form they can use to document the plans for post-adoption contact. All parties are urged to keep a copy and adhere to it, so every adoptee grows up knowing their parents’ promises were kept.
You can count on Abrazo to make every effort to ensure that these are honored, too, to the best of our ability. Because we believe in open adoptions that are based on honesty and trust. And we trust that those who want what is best for their children will keep their promises–for the child’s sake.
If openness doesn’t seem to fit your needs, then let’s discuss why you feel this way, so Abrazo can help structure a plan that is sensitive to your privacy concerns but still prioritizes your child’s need for information and future access.
After all, with more than 28 years of expertise in ethical adoption planning, Abrazo is well-qualified to be your personal adoption expert. We put every child’s best interests first, and offer parents a lifetime of support, as well.