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Private vs Open Adoption: What’s the Difference?

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open adoption

Choosing to adopt a child is one of the most loving things a parent can do. Whether you’re adopting from birth or permanently welcoming a foster kid into your home, there are a few things about the process you need to know. When you first meet with an adoption attorney to get started, they’ll likely go over the different types of adoption with you. Private (also known as closed) and open adoptions work differently. It’s important to know how they work, both when adopting and when putting a child up for adoption.

Open Adoption

Open adoption is becoming increasingly popular, and Texas operates as an open adoption state, meaning it does allow open adoptions. However, there is no law requiring all adoptions to be open. Both the birth parents and the adopting parents must agree on whether the adoption is open. If both parties agree to open adoption, then they can pair up for the process.

The Pros of Open Adoption

In an open adoption case, the birth parents and adopting parents meet before the adoption occurs. This is usually the case with adoptions that happen at birth, and the families get to meet each other before the birth. This allows the birth parents to make sure their child is going to a good home that they feel comfortable with while allowing the adopting parents to get a record of the child’s family’s health history.

Open adoptions are a popular choice these days because it gives both parties a sense of control. The birth parents can feel more at ease knowing exactly who they gave their child to. The adopting parents can get to know more about the family history of their child should any medical or other issues arise.

How Open Adoption Works

There are no hard and fast rules for how an open adoption operates. The parties decide upon the parameters of the adoption early on. There are many different kinds of open adoption, each with different levels of contact or interaction between the birth family and the child. In some cases, birth families may have visits with the child throughout the years.

In other cases, the adopting family will send photos and letters updating the birth family on the child’s life. This is often referred to as semi-open adoption, as the birth parents have no contact with the child after birth. Depending on what the two parties want, another version of semi-open adoption includes the two families meeting before the birth to share records, but then all contact is cut off once the child is born, including letters and photo updates.

Private Adoption

Private or closed adoptions used to be standard in America. In the last few years, however, more families are choosing open adoptions. Many see open adoptions as the better option for a child, but there are still some cases where a closed adoption may be preferable or even necessary. In fact, Texas still treats foster-to-adopt cases as closed adoptions. In a private adoption, the identities of the birth and adopting families are concealed from one another, and the child’s records are sealed until they turn 18.

The Pros of Private Adoption

Because a private adoption lacks the communication and knowledge of open adoption, many see this as a “lesser” option. However, there is still a lot of good that can come from it. A private adoption gives the adopting parents privacy and security. Not every family will feel comfortable sharing their information with the birth parents. They may worry that the birth parents will try to intrude, breaking the stability of the new family, even if they agreed to certain restrictions.

Another reason for a closed adoption is if the birth family is unsafe for the child. This is the case with many foster-to-adopt situations. A child often goes to foster care if their current environment is not safe. In some cases the issues are resolved. Then the families reunite. However, this is not always so. It may be in the child’s best interests to go forward with a private adoption. This can help keep them safe in the future.

Choosing to adopt a child or put a child up for adoption is about having that child’s best interests at heart. Whether you want to provide or find a good home for a child, there are many things to consider. Attorney Hager has been helping families in Tyler, Texas, and the surrounding areas create families through adoption. She is an experienced and certified adoption attorney, and she is ready to help you navigate the adoption process. If you’re ready to expand your family, call the Hager Law Firm today at (903) 466-0001.

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