Under the Umbrella: Open Adoptions

Under the Umbrella: Open AdoptionsThere is a lot of information out there about open adoptions. Some of it is accurate and true and some of it is just plain false. While, in Wisconsin, open adoptions are not legally binding, it is thought to be, under the correct circumstances, in the best interest of the child or youth being adopted. Following are a few common myths and the realities of open adoptions.

  • Myth: In an open adoption, children are confused about who their parents and siblings are.

    Actually, children understand the roles of their adoptive parents and their birth parents. It does make things easier for children when the adults have open and honest communication with them and each other.

  • Myth: Open adoption is a form of co-parenting.

    Actually, in an open adoption, both parties understand the change in the other’s role once an adoption is finalized. Upon finalization of an adoption, the adoptive parents assume all the legal rights and responsibilities of parents and it is final. Birth parents also understand that they have relinquished their legal rights. While communication and contact occurs, the adoptive parents are the decision makers when it comes to the care and well-being of the child or youth.

  • Myth: Open adoption plans tend to break down over time.

    Actually, open adoption is like any other relationship, and all relationships have ebbs and flows. Not all open adoption plans are a one-size-fits-all; what works for one family may not hold true for another. It is likely that the relationship between the adoptive parents and birth parents will change over time. Being able to have open communication and honor each other’s roles in the life of the child or youth is useful in growing that relationship.

There can be a lot of benefits to having an open adoption. Above all, the benefit of an open adoption relationship revolve around what is in the best interest of the child or youth. An open adoption does not diminish the grief and loss a birth parent feels when they make an adoption plan; though an open adoption may help them find peace with their decision as they see the child grow and thrive with his or her adoptive family. An open adoption will not discourage a child or youth’s questions surrounding his or her adoption; though it may make it easier to obtain the answers he or she is seeking. Many adoptive families who have open adoption plans are thankful that their child has the opportunity to know his birth family members.

The Coalition for Children, Youth and Families is here to support all foster and adoptive families. If you need more support or information, you can always call us for help, we’d love to hear from you! Call our toll-free number 1-800-762-8063 or email us at info@coalitionforcyf.org.

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