Open Adoption Definition and Legal Meaning
On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Open Adoption, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.
What is Open Adoption?
An adoption where the adoptive parents keep in contact with the birth parents and contact between the adopted child and birth parents may take place.
History and Definition of Open Adoption
Open adoption is a relatively new concept in history, dating back to the 1970s. Prior to this, most adoptions were closed, meaning that the birth parents had no contact with the child following the adoption. However, in the 1970s, adoptees began advocating for more contact with their birth parents, leading to the creation of open adoption.
Today, open adoption is defined as an adoption where the adoptive family closely interacts with the birth family of the child. This may include sending letters and pictures, phone calls, and even in-person visits. The level of openness can vary, and is typically negotiated between the adoptive family and birth family.
Examples of Open Adoption
Sarah and Tom adopt a baby girl. They have an open adoption with the birth mother and regularly send her pictures and updates on their daughter's progress.
David and Maria adopt a sibling group of two. They have an open adoption with the birth father, who sees the children twice a year.
John and Emily adopt a baby boy. They have a semi-open adoptions, where they share information with the birth mother through a third-party intermediary.
Lisa, who was adopted in an open adoption, meets her birth mother for coffee once a year.
Legal Terms Similar to Open Adoption
- Closed Adoption - an adoption where there is no contact between the adoptive family and birth family.
- Semi-Open Adoption - an adoption where there is some contact between the adoptive family and birth family, but typically limited to sharing information through a third-party intermediary.
- Post-Adoption Contact Agreement - an agreement that outlines the level of contact between the adoptive family and birth family following the adoption.