Understanding Open Adoption


In an open adoption, you meet your child’s birth parents and maintain contact after placement. Find open adoption information and stories here.

An adoptive mother watches her son at the beach and thinks about contact with his birth mother

Parents Share: “Our Open Adoption Over the Years”

Parents Share: “Our Open Adoption Over the Years”

Adoptive moms and dads share how their open adoptions have changed over time — whether they became more or less open, and why.

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author Shelly Gill Murray with her husband and daughter on their trip to Colombia to meet their daughter's birth mother

“Back to Bucaramanga” – Meeting My Daughter’s Birth Mother in Colombia

We set off on the 3,400-mile journey to meet my daughter’s birth mother in silence, our questions too big to put into words. In Colombia, communicating through an interpreter, but also through smiles, tears, embraces, and shared sensory experiences, all of us began to find answers.

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Author Karen Hindhede and her daughter through domestic open adoption

“‘Trashy’ Parents?”

At a recent gathering, an acquaintance made a comment based on the astonishingly misguided and downright vulgar assumption that my child’s birth parents are unworthy or subpar. Here’s how I responded.

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the author's preteen children pictured with their birth mother during a visit

“Meeting Jennifer” – Opening a Foster Adoption

After adopting my children from foster care, we eased into contact with their birth mother. She and I—a conservative, suburban mom—couldn’t be more different, and I’m glad that’s the case. The kids have a special relationship with her that they can’t have with me.

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Adoption Experts answer your questions.

Ask AF: How to Share Sad News About a Birth Parent?

“When my daughter was in her teens, we sent a letter to her birth mother via our adoption agency, but never heard back. Yesterday, I got a social media message from her birth mother’s sister, which shared sad news. How do I break this news to my daughter?”

a woman looks through an album, holding a photo of her biological brother from one of his visits

“Sister—a Role I Wasn’t Ready to Play”

"My biological brother was adopted as an infant. When he found us, he was eager to claim us as family. But is that really what we were?" A woman shares the story of meeting her birth sibling and offers advice for others contemplating search or faced with a reunion.

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The Kremlin in Russia

“Visiting Our Daughter’s Russian Orphanage”

Three years after her adoption, we returned to our daughter's Russian orphanage to visit her caregivers and friends there.

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Adoption expert Lois Melina on talking with adopted children about unknown birth family information

The Four Agreements in Open Adoption

Lois Melina offers personal reflections on making relationships between birth parents and adoptive families healthier—for the sake of our children, using the principles of The Four Agreements.

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opening the envelope, what woud the paternity test results say about this man who might be our child's birth father?

The Paternity Test, Part 2: “The Results”

After meeting a man who thought he might be our daughter’s birth father, we were all invested in the idea of an open adoption relationship—but how would the test come back?

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birth family meeting at a restaurant

The Paternity Test, Part 1: “I Hope It’s Them”

When our daughter was born, her birth mom listed the birth father as “unknown.” Ten years later, he found us on social media and reached out.

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Teens Speak Out About Open Adoption

Teens Speak Out About Open Adoption

Three adolescents share their experiences with open adoption, and how they feel about their relationships with their birth family.

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Readers share the holiday gifts they exchange with their children's birth families, including homemade ornaments, photos, and other ideas.

Parent-to-Parent: Holiday Gifts for Your Child’s Birth Family

We asked our readers: If you'll be giving your child's birth parents a gift this holiday season, what is it and how will you give it to them? Read the answers from adoptive parents.

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