What Should I Consider?
Agency vs. Private Adoption
When an expectant parent is researching adoption, she often identifies two different choices, adoption through an agency OR adoption through a private attorney. Adoption STAR has blended both of these together so you receive the support and assistance you deserve when making an adoption plan. An adoption agency is a state authorized/licensed, non-profit organization that works with both expectant parents and prospective adoptive parents by providing counseling and hand holding throughout the adoption plan and beyond and helps organize the adoption process. An attorney represents one of the parties to an adoption.
At Adoption STAR we provide all of our expectant parents with their own attorney. This attorney will solely represent you and will not represent the adoptive parents or the agency. This legal counsel is at no-cost to you whether or not you make an adoption plan.
So now you have the benefit of both types of adoptions. Adoption STAR provides you with an attorney, choice of adoptive families, counseling, education, medical and other expenses paid, transportation assistance, pre and post adoption support, connection to other birth parents, if you would like to connect with others who have made an adoption plan, as well as confidentiality, respect and immediate attention.
Post Adoption Contact or Not
Adoption STAR will provide you with information on the different types of contact that is available to you should you make an adoption plan. Please know there is no one formula or no plan A, B or C. You assist in creating an adoption plan that is comfortable for you and in the best interests of your child. Most often the terms within the field of adoption tend to be open adoption, semi-open adoption and closed adoption describing the type of post adoption contact you have with your child and the adoptive family. While we define those broadly for you, please know that you decide what you are most comfortable with.
An open adoption represents the joining of two families based on love and trust. Open adoption means that birth families and adoptive families will maintain significant ongoing contact after a placement. In some cases this takes the form of sharing non-identifying information and sometimes it means the full exchange of identifying information between birth and adoptive families. This contact may include phone calls, visiting with each other and the child, sharing photos and letters or corresponding via e-mail.
Open adoption can sound overwhelming. During the beginning stages of your adoption process you will be provided with education and the opportunity to discuss your feelings and to eliminate any lingering doubts you may have about this type of adoption.
Open adoption benefits all members of the adoption triad. Open adoption provides the birth parents with the unique opportunity to “get to know” the adoptive parents and vice versa, enabling them each to answer questions that the child might pose to them as s/he grows.
Open adoption also allows birth parents the peace of mind they can only get by meeting the family who will raise their child into adulthood. They are given the proper respect for themselves, their decision, and the important role they play in their child’s life.
Most importantly, open adoption provides adopted children with the understanding of “why” they were placed for adoption and the ability to be able to contact their birth parents, should they want to. This helps with identity issues—knowing whom s/he looks like and having a sense of connectedness with biological family members. The child has a direct ongoing source of medical and other important information. And most importantly, the child knows that an adoption plan was made out of love, not rejection.
Semi-open is similar to an open adoption but the relationship does not include the sharing of identifying information and typically involves the agency as an intermediary for ongoing contact. After child placement, many semi-open adoptions include mailing photos and letters between adoptive families and birth families, with the agency being the “mail service” to preserve confidentiality.
Semi-open adoption has many of the same benefits as an open adoption as keeping in touch allows all parties the ability to get to know one another and to share future medical information should that be necessary. Semi-open adoptions can later become an open adoption if all parties are comfortable.
A closed adoption often means that the birth parent requests to receive no information on the child after placement including not receiving photos in letters. However, even in a closed adoption plan, Adoption STAR requires the adoptive family to share pictures and letters on a scheduled basis with the agency after placement so that the photos and letters are available to the birth parents should they decide to request these in the future.
Today more adoptions range from semi-open to open adoption. If a birth parent selects a closed adoption plan for her child, Adoption STAR will encourage her to still share her preferences for an adoptive family and leave the door open to receive photos and updates of the child.