Open adoptions once composed only one percent of domestic adoptions. That number now fluctuates between 60 and 70 percent of domestic adoptions. Open adoptions, unlike traditional (or closed) adoptions, allow the biological parents to stay in contact with the adopted child. Now, due to the growing popularity of open adoptions, many agencies now offer open adoptions as an option for parents.
Open adoptions were once incredibly rare. Birthmothers were rarely given a chance to hold, or occasionally, even see their baby after delivery. The nurses would quickly whisk the baby away to prevent the mother from bonding with the child any more than she already had. The goal was to alleviate the pain that the birthmother would feel as a result of losing her child.
But as the stigma surrounding unwed motherhood waned, more and more mothers were choosing single parenting over adoption. This coupled with the legalization of abortions and improved access to contraceptives reduced the number of babies available for adoption.
The result has been a shift in power to mothers willing to surrender their babies. Birthmothers today exercise unprecedented control over the family that is permitted to adopt her child. Open adoptions allow the birth parents to continue accessing the child. It reduces the absolute legal rights that most parents, including adoptive parents, enjoy over their children to facilitate raising them.
There are also issues of birthmothers refusing to hand over their babies at the last moment. This collapses months of careful planning and agreements because, until the birthmother relinquishes all legal rights to her child, she retains ultimate authority over the final adoption.
Some birth parents have even resorted to court to force adoptive parents to relinquish legal custody over their child. In this situation, the adoptive parents may limit contact with the birth parent or the birth parent will simply try to use the open adoption as a vehicle to regain legal custody.
If you are trying to adopt a child then you may want to speak to an attorney. The adoption process is fraught with many legal pitfalls. For example, the issues contained with an open adoption. An attorney is a good person to review your adoption agreement to ensure that you are not surprised by any hidden arrangements.