Open Versus Closed Adoptions

Determining whether to move toward adoption can be an emotional time. Whether you live in Indianapolis or another part of the state or country, you need to know the available options and resources before making an educated decision.

At Herrin & Leach, our adoption attorneys listen to you and take time to address your unique concerns in a confidential setting. Many people have heard the terms open and closed adoption. Here we provide answers to some common questions about the differences.

What Is An Open Adoption?

An "open" adoption means the process is not confidential and there is contact between the expectant mother, adoptive parents and the child. The expectant mom knows the names and address of the adopting parents and communicates with them directly or through us in the future for letters, pictures and/or visits.

What Are The Benefits Of Open Adoption?

Open adoptions allow a greater degree of transparency and control. Some expectant parents and prospective adoptive parents wonder if an open adoption will confuse the child. They have concerns that an open adoption may be awkward. But this is rarely, if ever, the case. Children of open adoptions are aware that they were adopted and are therefore more readily able to voice any concerns or questions about their birth parents.

How Common Is Open Adoption?

The great majority of the adoptions our lawyers handle are open, and future communications, photos, letters and visits are contemplated. However, in Indiana, an adoptive parent cannot enter into a contract for visits in exchange for signing a consent for adoption for children under two years of age as it would potentially invalidate the consent.

As such, the adoptive parents' obligation to adhere to their promises to the expectant mother in these situations is more of a "moral" obligation than a "legal" obligation. If the expectant mother does not trust that the adoptive parents will honor their commitment, then we work to find a family that meets her expectations.

What Is A Closed Adoption?

The great majority of the adoptions our lawyers handle are open, and future communications, photos, letters and visits are contemplated. An open adoption allows the birth mother and adoptive parents to work together for the good of the child who will benefit from the love of everyone in their life. Depending upon the circumstances, a closed adoption can offer a sense of closure, clear boundaries, privacy and freedom.

For more individualized legal guidance on open versus closed adoptions, please call 317-566-2174 or email us to set up a free initial consultation to discuss your concerns.