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.

Adoption Experts answer your questions.

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

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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Two girls started as friends, and discovered they were birth siblings

“The China Sisters”

Two families, linked by a shared adoption experience, discover that they are bound by DNA, as well.

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parent-to-parent advice about open adoption

“Take It from Us!”: Open Adoption

Real-life advice from the Adoptive Families community on understanding openness, navigating visits and contact, explaining birth siblings, and more.

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Visiting My Daughter's Birth Country: Honduras

“Amanda’s Journey Home to Her Birth Country”

"You belong to two heritages-Jewish and Latin American-and at this special time in your life, when many Jewish families travel to the Mideast, we're heading south." More than a few heads turned when I announced this in my speech to my thirteen-year-old daughter, Amanda, on the occasion of her bat mitzvah.

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Adoptive parents discuss talents and traits they think their child must have inherited from the birth family

Parent-to-Parent: Like Birth Mother, Like Child

We asked our readers: What talent or trait do you see in your child that must be from his or her birth family? Read the answers from adoptive parents.

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My Mixed Feelings as An Adoptee Giving Birth

Motherhood? Me? You’ve Got to Be Kidding!

Having children was something that other people did. But giving birth has given me a sense of connection I never felt before.

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Our Birth Mother Search in Guatemala

“Looking for Answers in Guatemala”

When it came to locating our daughter's birth mother in Guatemala, we didn't know where to begin. But we knew that we had to try.

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