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.

Young girls playing with their birth father.

“Introducing Tessa to Her Birth Father”

“Introducing Tessa to Her Birth Father”

After seven years, we decided to bring our daughter's birth father back into her life. But was she ready for him?

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Openness can vary in domestic adoptions.

“Why Don’t We Ever Visit My Birth Parents?”

After three domestic adoptions, we have three very different levels of openness with each of our children's birth families.

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Visits with birth parents may change in frequency over the years

Birth Parent Relationship Changes in the Teen Years

"We have a semi-open relationship with our 14-year-old son's birth mother. Recently, he asked if we could invite her for a weekend. I trust his birth mom, but I'm worried."

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“When the Babysitter is…the Birth Mom!”

Though I'm indisputably my daughter's mom, the time she spends with her birth mother seems to offer something I can't.

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One boy meets his extended birth family.

“Mourning His Birth Mother with the Birth Family”

The tragic loss of our son's birth mother was followed by a powerful new connection with his birth family.

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An unexpected and emotional meeting with the birth mother of two children adopted from foster care

“Intimate Strangers”: Birth Parent Contact in Foster Adoption

The 894 pages of my daughter's foster care case history described her birth mother's hard life, scarred by poverty, drug addiction, and homelessness. I never expected to meet her—much less like her.

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Feeling Guilt Over the Birth Mom’s Grief

"Many parents feel guilty because their joy is the direct result of a difficult decision by the birth mother — someone you may have grown to care about. So when a new adoptive mother sees the birth mother in intense pain, she asks herself, 'Was adoption really the right thing to do?'"

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A birth parent search can take you to different places than you thought

Birth Parent Search in International Adoption

Adoptive parents around the globe are seeking their children's first families — even before these children voice an opinion on the matter. But do we know what we're doing?

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An illustration of a family

“How Our Family Approached Our Birth Parent Search”

Three families describe their relationships with their children's birth parents — deciding to keep in touch, searching for birth parents, and managing an already open adoption.

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new mother talking to her father about open adoption as the new grandparents admire newborn baby

Helping Family Understand Open Adoption

Your family — especially older relatives — may not get why you are choosing an open adoption. Adoption expert Kathleen Silber gives advice on what to say.

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Open adoption can create rewarding relationships for all parties

Open Adoption Over the Years

Parents involved in open adoptions speak honestly about working through challenges and keeping the relationship going through life changes.

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helping children explain open adoption to their peers

“I Have a Birth Mom, Too” – How Children Can Explain Open Adoption to Friends

Answers to your parenting questions.

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Communicating bad news to the birth family can be difficult

Breaking Bad News: “I Have Something to Tell You”

How do you break bad news about job loss, illness, or divorce to the birth parents in an open adoption relationship?

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Announcing your adoption can be done through a letter to family and friends

“Finding Her Birth Mother, A World Apart”

Opening our daughter's international adoption has allowed her to ask questions and receive answers, brought her birth mother a sense of peace from knowing that her child is alive, well, and happy, and given us the unforgettable privilege of personally thanking our child's birth mother.

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A domestic adoptive mother reflects on taking her daughter to visit her birth mother

“Visiting My Daughter’s Birth Mother”

Taking my daughter to visit her birth mother, I found that, while shared genes make them alike in some ways, it’s shared experiences that make us family.

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