Closed, Open, Semi Open

So since bringing Karsten home I have had many questions about adoption. The main question I get is after people hear this is an open adoption. I have had multiple people ask me if because it’s an open adoption does that mean the K can change her mind and decide to parent or does it mean she still has parental rights. Since we have brought Karsten home I find it’s extremely important to educate about adoption and the different types of adoption.

First off there is no type of adoption that the birth mom or dad still have rights to the child. Depending on each state there is a “cool off” period after the child is born. In Colorado that is about a week. During this period of time the child is with the adoptive family but the birth family still has the right to decide to parent. After this period of time is over the birth parents will sign papers terminating parental rights. After the papers are signed and sent in they no longer have any parental rights.

So there are three main types of adoptions, Open adoption, Semi open adoption and closed adoption. We will start with closed, closed adoption means there is very little to no contact between the birth family and adoptive family. No identifying information is shared except for medical records. Closed adoption is becoming less and less common.  Open adoption is the opposite of closed. There is not a definition of exactly what an open adoption will look like because everyone’s is a little different. With an open adoption depending on the family all identifying information is shared. There are phone calls, letters, texts, emails and visits in open adoption. In our case our adoption is very open. K has already had her first visit with us and it was even at our home. I also text with K about once a week or so.  Last but not least, semi open adoption. Semi open is some place between closed and open. Usually identifying information is a little more protected.  Usually there are some pictures and letter shared but they are given to the case worker to exchange between families. There are also sometimes visits but there is always an adoption professional present.  Many semi open adoptions do change into open adoptions as the years go on and the birth family feels more comfortable. The type of adoption is determined by the birth family and what they would like, sadly every now and then you hear of an adoptive family who after the adoption is finalized will stop communicating with the birth family.  You see adoptive families can stop communicating with the birth family; there are times when if it isn’t a healthy relationship, the birth parents aren’t in a good spot or something like that, that we have the option to tell the birth family we need to take a break until they get their life back on track. This is usually done to protect the child.

So far I have really enjoyed having an open adoption. I am thankful the birth family can see Karsten grow and see how much we love him. I love that Karsten won’t have to question where he came from or the beginning of his story. I have also enjoyed seeing K succeed after the birth of Karsten. It’s great to hear from her about all the improvements she is making and all the cool things she has accomplished.  

So yes we are in an open adoption. Yes I am very happy about that and no K cannot change her mind and decide to parent him. But K is there to watch him grow, love him and cheer him on, and we are there to do the same things for K, love her, watch her grow and cheer her on in every aspect of life!

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