How Common is Closed Adoption?

Closed adoption is relatively uncommon today, at least in domestic adoptions. Most private adoption agencies prefer to set up open adoptions, so that birth and adoptive families can develop lasting bonds or relationships. Closed adoptions are possible in some situations, however. Closed adoptions are often pursued:

  • if the birth parents are incarcerated
  • if the birth parents are physically or emotionally abusive
  • if the birth parents are addicted to drugs or alcohol
  • if it is an international adoption

The Role of the Birth Parents

In closed adoptions, the role of the birth parents is very limited. Birth parents may or may not choose the adoptive parents, depending upon the degree of closure in the adoption. If they do choose the adoptive parents, this choice is based on a file of information provided by the adoption agency.

The birth parents will provide any non-identifying information about their child’s history, including medical and social records. The birth parents may receive non-identifying information about their chosen adoptive family, including physical characteristics.

The birth parents will not meet with the adoptive parents before the placement occurs. After placement, the birth parents will have no role in the adoptive child’s life and will be unable to contact the adoptive parents. The birth parents may be contacted if the adoptive child chooses to do so once he has become of legal age. At this point, contact information and adoption records may be released by the adoption agency.

The Role of the Adoptive Parents

In a closed adoption, the adoptive parents will receive little information about the birth parents of their adopted child. Only non-identifying information, such as medical records, will be passed along at the time of adoption.

Upon adoption, all parental rights are relinquished by the birth parents and the adoptive parents become the child’s legal guardians. The adoptive parents will not engage in any contact with the birth parents and do not need to pass any information on to their child about his birth parents until he turns of legal age.

Table of Contents
1. Closed Adoption
2. Why Closed Adoption?
3. A case for closed adoption?
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