How to Have a Successful Semi-Open Adoption
Semi-open adoptions are growing in popularity and can provide some of the comfort of open adoptions while protecting a birth parent’s privacy. Usually, semi-open adoptions allow for contact between adoptive parents and birth parents via letters or emails that may include updates, photos, etc. This contact is mediated through a secure and confidential portal called ChildConnect, which Adoption Choices of Colorado helps the adoptive and birth parents set up.
This can be beneficial as it allows the birth parents’ privacy, as well as on-going assurance that their child is happy and healthy. It also benefits the child, allowing him or her to ask questions about their birth parents as they grow older and have a way to receive information.
The key when it comes to how to have a successful semi-open adoption is diligent planning and communication from the beginning.
Speak to an Adoption Choices Counselor
Adoption Choices Colorado provides free counseling services to birth mothers, birth fathers and any related children or family members who want it. This allows you to start talking with a knowledgeable staff member about what you are thinking and feeling around the adoption process. It is important to take the time to establish that semi-open adoption is truly the best choice for you as a birth mother and a huge piece of determining this is recognizing and processing your own thoughts and emotions around the topic.
Your counselor can help you safely explore all that is coming up for you throughout the adoption and grieving process, and getting that ongoing support from a trained professional can help you to better understand your own experience and how to take care of yourself during this time. Semi-open adoption can be a great way to prioritize your needs for privacy and updates throughout your grieving process, and you can continue to see this counselor throughout that time.
Semi-Open Adoption Communication
It takes a lot of discussion and dedication to create a semi-open adoption that best serves everyone involved. It is important to consider the thoughts and feelings of all three parties: you, your child and the adoptive parents. Reflect on your wants and needs first and write them down. Have them with you as you discuss the specifics of semi-open adoption with your caseworker. Setting aside the time to consider everyone’s expectations and make creative solutions and compromises ahead of time will help your semi-open adoption to go smoothly.
Your adoption caseworker will work closely with you through this process. It is important to be clear and communicative regarding what your desires and expectations are around the type and quantity of updates you wish to receive. Expressing these expectations clearly to your caseworker will allow them to, in turn, communicate these desires to the adoptive family and establish a clear agreement. Being specific allows you to assure that the adoptive parents follow through on the agreement made and that you will get updates in accordance with your wishes.
Create a Semi-Open Adoption Plan
Creating a semi-open adoption plan is essential when considering how to have a successful semi-open adoption. After the adoption is finalized, Adoption Choices Colorado can not legally hold the adoptive family to the agreement so it is crucial to establish a strong connection and written plan prior to the adoption date. Once everyone’s discussed their wants and needs and reached a mutually beneficial agreement for the sake of you child, your caseworker will help you to get it down in writing.
Having this documented and specific semi-open adoption plan will allow everyone to have a clear understanding of what has been agreed upon, and eliminate the potential for future concerns or disparities. If you do have concerns arise regarding your plan, be sure to contact your caseworker with any additional questions. Our adoption professionals are here to support you in every step of the process. Having a written, formal copy of this plan will make it much more likely to be followed through on and give you that peace of mind.
How to Have a Successful Semi-Open Adoption
There are many reasons why you may be interested in having a semi-open adoption. It can be the best of both worlds for many birth mothers as it allows you to not only maintain your confidentiality, but also get letters and updates on your child’s wellbeing. It can also be really wonderful for your child as they grow older, and question that part of their identity, to know that you are available to them in this way. It creates a predetermined set of boundaries for your interactions with them, which can be very reassuring — particularly if privacy is important to you.
Ultimately, the most important step is to take the time you need to figure out what you, as a birth mother, truly want. Talk with supportive family and friends, as well as Adoption Choices staff, about whether semi-open adoption is the best choice for you. Then, start having respectful conversations with prospective adoptive families to create a plan that is ideal for all parties. Having this all prepared before the actual formalized adoption will allow you to fully enjoy the benefits of a successful semi-open adoption.
If you are facing an unplanned pregnancy and want to learn more about your adoption options, contact Adoption Choices of Colorado by email, phone, or text: Email Us, Call us: 720-371-1099, Call or Text us: 303-670-4673 (HOPE). If you are hoping to adopt, please contact us here.
Meet the Author: Kara Bringewatt is an English major and psychology minor at Queens University of Charlotte. She plans to get her masters in social work and work at a nonprofit as a case manager for at-risk youth. She loves using writing as a means of creating community and bringing attention to causes she’s passionate about.
Kara is particularly interested in educational and mental health interventions for young people in foster care. She’s worked as a tutor, professional caregiver, preschool teacher and acting instructor, and loves being able to utilize her wide range of passions to support young people and plans on being a foster and adoptive parent.