Birth Mother Blog

The Difference Between Open Adoption and Co-Parenting 

By Blessing E. Ikhimokpa

As you’re going through the adoption plan, you come across the three types of adoptions. You see that there is an open, semi-open, and closed adoption. Being a part of the birth child’s life is something you’d like. But you don’t know if open adoption and co-parenting are the same. At Adoption Choices of Missouri, we’ll help you understand the differences. Our agency has worked with many birth mothers planning on open adoption. With our agency, you’ll be in expert hands.

What is open adoption?

Open adoption is when the birth mother wants to have a relationship with the birth child. This is when instead of the adoption agency taking over the adoption process. The birth mother instead is going through the different steps. In this adoption, the birth mother will have a relationship with the birth child. But this depends on the adoptive parent(s). Whenever the birth mother and the adoptive parent (s) agree on a time and day, the birth mother will visit the birth child. 

In an open adoption, the birth mother will be able to:

  • Visit the birth child
  • Communicate with them through e-mail or text messages
  • Send pictures and cards

What is co-parenting?

Co-parenting is when the parent and another party help take care of the child. This doesn’t mean the child goes back with the birth mother after an adoption is finalized. Nor that the birth parents will have any parental rights to the child. While being able to visit whenever the adoptive parent (s) are available. The birth mother will become someone close to the birth child.

Is open adoption and co-parenting the same thing?

With Adoption in Missouri, open adoption and co-parenting work together. But they’re not the same. In an open adoption, the birth mother placed the birth child up for adoption. The parental rights are taken away and given to the adoptive parent (s). Co-parenting is when two parents share custody of the child but take care of the birth child separately. In the open adoption situation, the birth mother had the parental rights taken. Open adoption and co-parenting are not the same things. 

Will I be able to have a relationship with my child in an open adoption?

Some birth mothers want to have a relationship with the birth child but don’t know if they’ll be able to. They chose open adoption because the birth mother wanted to have a relationship with the birth child. Without having to take on the parental aspect of it. They wanted to be in the child’s life as someone they could talk to and rely on. Without having to take care of them. The birth mother placed the birth child up for adoption because they:

  • Weren’t ready to become a birth mother
  • Weren’t financially ready for a child

There are many scenarios in why the birth mother placed the birth child up for adoption. The birth mother wants to be in their life after the child has been adopted. So birth mothers place their child up for adoption. Just to visit them regularly. Doesn’t mean they’re giving a child up for adoption. It just means they didn’t want to be labeled as a birth mother. But as a family friend instead. 

If you have questions regarding the adoption process and what you’re able to do. You can contact your local adoption agency. They will help with questions you may have.

Will I be able to have a relationship with the adoptive parent(s)?

While creating a relationship with the birth child. The birth mother could also take that time to create a relationship with the adoptive parent (s) since the birth mother is going to have an active role in the birth child’s life. It’ll be nice to know the people you’ll be around. So that if anything comes up, the adoptive parent (s) will notify the birth mother. 

What are the different adoptions available?

In Missouri, there are three types of adoption. There is an open, semi-open, and closed adoption. If you plan on having a relationship with the birth child. Then you should choose open adoption. In an open adoption, you’ll be able to pick the adoptive family. While deciding whether the adoptive parent(s) will be in the room while you give birth.

Having the adoptive parent (s) have access to your information isn’t for everyone, which is okay. If you don’t want to share contact information with the adoptive parent (s). Or talk to them at all. You can choose semi-closed adoption. In this, the adoption agency will be the voice instead. Questions you may have about the adoptive parent (s) will be answered through the adoption agency. 

Some birth mothers just want to separate themselves from the adoption process entirely. They don’t: 

  • Want to choose the adoptive parent (s). 
  • Want the adoptive parent (s) in the room during the birth
  • Want to spend the 48-72 hours getting to know the adoptive parent (s)
  • Or spending the 48-72 hours with the birth child before they sign the final adoption papers

Becoming a birth mother wasn’t something they planned. Instead, it was an unplanned pregnancy. So being involved in the adoption process. It isn’t something they want. If this is you, then you should choose a closed adoption.

As you’re choosing open adoption, you’re wondering if co-parenting and open adoption is the same. Adoption Choices of Missouri serves birth parents statewide and beyond. Please call us or text us to learn more! Call us toll-free at 877-903-4488 or, in Missouri call or text us at 816-527-9800