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Closed adoption refers to an adoption process where there is no interaction of any kind between the birth mother and the prospective adoptive families. There is no identifying information provided to either the birth families or the adoptive families. Non-identifying information such as physical characteristics and medical history may be provided to both parties.
The Christian Adoptions Alliance believes that an open adoption provides the best opportunity to experience the relational characteristic of Christ. It is most often the healthiest adoption option for the birth mother, prospective parents, and the adopted child.
However, there are situations and circumstances that may warrant a closed adoption. Below you will be able to review some potential reasons for a closed adoption.
Closed Adoption: Reasons for Birth Parents
Please note that the closed adoption experience is different for each person, and the reasons and advantages will vary between all parties:
Sense of closure– A closed adoption may allow some birthmothers to experience a sense of closure. This advantage typically is only experienced in the early months following the adoption and may not carry over into a long term advantage. It is possible that this early advantage becomes a long-term disadvantage.
Privacy– Placing a child for adoption is an extremely sensitive and vulnerable choice. Having a closed adoption may deliver a greater sense of privacy. Although possibly considered an advantage, the closed adoption for privacy may be masking other feelings such as fear, shame, and hurt. It is important to evaluate why you might be choosing a closed adoption.
Reduced fear– Some birthmothers are concerned about explaining their choice and a closed adoption serves as a way to prevent them from a confrontation with a child placed for adoption. However this potential advantage may also be the result of trying to hide hurt, shame or some other emotion. Make sure you discuss these feelings and potential advantages of a closed adoption.
Closed Adoption: Reasons for Adoptive Family
The closed adoption experience is different for every family; however here is a list of potential advantages that you might encounter with a closed adoption:
Family Security– A closed adoption may prove to be the best option if the birth mother or birth family is experiencing problems with alcohol, drugs, or other destructive behavioral concerns.
Absence of fuzzy boundaries– There is no danger or risk of birth parent interference or co-parenting concerns. This potential advantage or reason for a closed adoption is frequently the prospective parents masking their fear in the adoption process. It is rare for birth mothers to over step their boundaries.
Closed Adoption: Advantages for the Adopted Child
The closed adoption experience is different for every child; however here is a list of potential reasons that an adopted child might encounter with a closed adoption:
Absence of fuzzy boundaries- There is no danger or risk of birth parent interference or co-parenting concerns. This is only an advantage for the child if the adoptive parents and the birth families do not have healthy relational skills.
Protection from unstable birth families- A closed adoption protects the adopted child from an unstable or emotionally disturbed birth parent or birth family member. This is rare and should never be the route pursued unless there is clear evidence that the birth family poses a risk.
The closed adoption is a different experience for each adoption.
The most important thing for all parties involved in the adoption process is communication. The more communication about wishes, desires, expectations, etc., the more comfortable each party will be in the adoption process. In a closed adoption, this communication takes place through the adoption agency or adoption attorney.
Through healthy communication, guidance and support from the adoption professional, prospective parents and birth moms should be able to work through any fears, boundary issues, and expectations. Christian Adoptions Alliance believes that through this process more and more couples will see that Open or Semi-open Adoption creates a better adoption experience for all involved.