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A semi-open adoption occurs when the potential birthmother or birth families experience non-identifying interaction with the adoptive families. In most cases, the interaction is facilitated by a third party which is usually the adoption agency or adoption attorney.
Through this type of adoption, the identity of all parties is usually kept from one another. In most cases, the interaction includes letters or cards; however in some cases there may be non-identifying e-mails or visits hosted by the adoption professional. The more identity facets are shared the more this would become an open adoption.
Christian adoptions believes that Open Adoptions are the healthiest model and should be pursued if at all possible. A semi-open adoption may be the more appropriate option if their are unhealthy behavioral concerns within the birth families such as alcohol or substance abuse. Open adoptions allow adoptive families, birth families and the child to enjoy the richness of God’s grace, mercy and love that is available through an adoption.
When considering a semi-open adoption, there are some potential disadvantages that might be considered for the birth parents, the adoptive parents, and the adopted child. However, most are easily overcome with healthy communication and strong guidance by a Christian adoption professional.
Semi-Open Adoption: Disadvantages for Birth Parents
The semi-open adoption experience is different for each person; however, here is a list of potential disadvantages that you may encounter with a semi-open adoption:
Loss of relationship- Since the communication between the birth families and the adoptive family occurs through the adoption professional there is the potential loss for a direct relationship with the adopted child. Moving it toward an open adoption would increase the probability that the birth mom experiences a sense of peace knowing her child is well.
Increased grief– During the initial years following the placement of your child there is a greater potential for heightened grief without the opportunity to observe how the child is doing with the adoptive family. Although there may be letters and pictures, most birth mothers do better with the opportunity to actually visit with the family and have the opportunity to see their baby being loved by the family they chose.
Feelings of obligation– As the birth mother, you may feel a sense of obligation to place the child for adoption because of the financial and emotional investment made by the adoptive family. This possibility is doubtful because of the adoption professional who will help support you through the decision making process.
Semi-Open Adoption: Disadvantages for Adoptive Family
The semi-open adoption experience is different for every family; however, here is a list of potential disadvantages that you may encounter with a semi-open adoption:
Limited relationship– Because all communication goes through the adoption professional, there is an absence of a deeper and more genuine relationship with the birth family. If you were to transition to an open adoption it will create the opportunity to experience that relationship more fully which is usually accompanied by wonderful blessings.
Limited information– Since communication is dependent on the adoption professional, there is potentially less information acquired regarding medical histories, family genealogies and family histories. Consistent communication through the agency lessens this possibility and a healthy open adoption eradicates it altogether.
Semi-Open Adoption: Disadvantages for the Adopted Child
The semi-open adoption experience is different for every child; however, here is a list of potential disadvantages that an adopted child may encounter with an open adoption:
Negative perceptions- Because the birth family is kept away from the adoptive family, the adopted child may develop a perception that it is unsafe or wrong to interact with the birth family directly. Healthy communication from both the adoptive parents and the adoption professional should prevent this from happening. The more birth families and adoptive families move toward an open adoption, the greater the probabilty the child will have positive perceptions.
Identify confusion -There is a chance that a teenage child may struggle more with identity because of the limited communication with the birth families or because of the additional family history and genealogy information “who am I?” Healthy and consistent communication should reduce any chances of this and transitioning into an open adoption as early as possible will help make this even more doubtful.
Preoccupation with adoption issues- A child in a semi-open adoption may be slightly more prone to experience a preoccupation with adoption issues. As noted throughout, healthy and consistent adoption communication should prevent this from surfacing as a problem.
The semi-open adoption is experienced differently in 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.
Christian Adoptions Alliance recognizes that they may be situations or circumstances that warrant a semi-open adoption. Outside of these cases, an Open Adoption should be pursued providing the greatest opportunity to experience relationships blessed by our heavenly Father.