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.

A teen who wants to start a birth parent search

When Teens Want to Search for Birth Parents

When Teens Want to Search for Birth Parents

Part of how teens form identity is by finding ways they are alike and different from their family. They may want to search for their genetic relatives to figuring out who they are and how to emotionally put pieces in place.

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in adoption, we must keep our eyes and hearts open to all perspectives—birth parents, adoptees, and adoptive parents

“Seeing the Bigger Picture in Adoption”

I used to see adoption from only one viewpoint—that of the adoptive parents. But working in the field before becoming an adoptive mother opened my eyes to how complex and bittersweet adoption can be.

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Adoption Experts answer your questions.

Ask AF: Family Interactions After Kinship Adoption

“We are adopting my sister-in-law’s teenage son after fostering him for five years. What can I say to her at family gatherings, to family who still don’t get that we’ll be his legal parents—and to my son, who hears all of this?”

Looking for Adoption History Using the Internet

Searching for Answers…with Google?

The Internet requires a cautious approach when teens are looking for answers about adoption.

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in a family that's built through open adoption and step-relatives, more love is more love

Three Stories: Unexpected Birth Family Reunions

Today, as more and more adoptees reach adulthood, they are finding birth relatives-or are being found by them. Whether a child is from the U.S., Guatemala, Russia, or China, she may one day be in touch with her first family. These stories, each detailing an unexpected family reunion, may well reflect the complexity of what is ahead.

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A blank birth certificate as parents contemplate an adoption name change

“Should We Keep or Change Our Child’s Name?”

We carefully choose our children's names. But wait—our children will soon have their own ideas about who they are and what they should be called.

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author Lakshmi Iyer with her family, including twins adopted as older infants in an open adoption

“How I Met My Daughters”

I may not remember when I first knew I wanted to be a mother, but the moments leading up to and the first time I saw my daughters are indelibly etched in my memory.

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author Brandy Stein with her twin daughters during an open adoption visit

“Letting Go After Months of Struggling to Parent”

After struggling to parent my twin daughters for ten months, I sadly realized I couldn’t provide them with the stable life I’d envisioned.

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hands signing a post-adoption contact agreement, or PACA, outlining birth family contact in an open adoption

Parent-to-Parent: Post-Adoption Contact Agreements

Parents in open adoptions share whether they have a post-adoption contact agreement with their child's birth parents and, if so, what it includes.

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An illustration for talking to adopted children as they become teens

Supporting Your Teen’s Developing Identity

Questions from their peers get more complicated for our teens—and their peers' questions may reflect their own worries about adoption.

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brothers and sisters benefit from knowing about and seeing their birth siblings after adoption

Bringing Birth Siblings Into Our Children’s Stories—and Lives

The vast majority of our children have birth siblings, yet parents may wonder how to approach the topic. Adoptive parents, birth parents, and adoptees share how they talk about biological siblings, and build brother-sister bonds.

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in a family that's built through open adoption and step-relatives, more love is more love

“More Love Is More Love”

In many families, relationships come without exact names. While adoption highlighted this truth, it was already a given in my family—and maybe in yours, too?

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