Open Adoption, Semi Open, and Closed Adoption

As a birth mother in Missouri, with Adoption Choices of Missouri, you have the right to choose the type of adoption you want: an open adoption, semi-open adoption, or closed adoption. You will then be matched with an adoptive family who desires the same type of adoption as you.

Which type of adoption is up to you, as the birth mother, and depends on what kind of contact you want with the adoptive family and your child after the adoption is finalized. We will make sure you are well informed and confident with the type of adoption and relationship you want to have with the adoptive family.

Types of Adoption

What is open adoption, semi-open adoption, and closed adoption?

Open adoption is now the most widely practiced type of adoption in the U.S. In an open adoption, identifying information is shared, including names, phone numbers, and contact info. Birth parents and adoptive families will likely meet in person and stay in contact throughout the pregnancy, birth, and post-placement.

An open adoption includes varying degrees of openness after the adoption process is finalized. Contact typically includes the exchange of emails, letters, pictures, and phone calls. A fully open adoption also includes in-person visits. Fully open adoptions can also include extended family members, such as birth-grandparents and siblings.

It’s important to stay open-minded in an open adoption as the relationship tends to develop and change with time. It is also important that birth parents and adoptive families have the same understanding of what “open” means and that they remain committed to meeting the needs of the child throughout the child’s life.

A closed adoption, in contrast, is a type of adoption in which the adoptive family and the birth mother never meet and know nothing or very little about one another. In a closed adoption, Adoption Choices will usually choose the adoptive family for the child. In our modern times with open adoption, closed adoptions have become the exception in domestic adoption rather than the rule.

Not to be confused with sealed records, the term closed adoption is most often used in relation to post-adoption contact, while the term sealed records is related to the access of legal documentation surrounding the birth and placement of the adopted child once the adoption is final. It is entirely possible to have a closed adoption with unsealed records or an open adoption with sealed records. The two practices are not mutually exclusive.

The closed or open adoption agreements made between the parties of an adoption at the time of the child’s birth only stay in force until the child reaches the legal age in which he or she can make decisions for his or her own self.

A semi-open adoption involves practices somewhere in the middle of open and closed adoption. Generally, non-identifying information is shared between adoptive families and birth parents. Usually semi-open adoption consists of the exchange of letters, photos, and emails, either directly or through a third party (like the adoption agency or Childconnect). It is not unheard of to have some pre-birth, face-to-face meetings or for the birth parents and adoptive parents to spend time together at the hospital during and after the birth.

With a semi-open adoption plan, there usually isn’t any post-placement, face-to-face visitation. The children involved don’t normally have any direct communication with their birth parents.

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Types of Adoption