Adoption’s Relationship Continuum

When compared and contrasted to how adoption used to look, the options available to those looking to make an adoption plan are more varied than ever!

240_F_53883770_UFn7LdJhPfcwP4dnY1nDF6K2NTMItAZDModern day adoption practice involves looking at things like openness in adoption and post-placement contact between the adoptive family and birth family. This speaks to the variety of options available to both parties. Spaulding for Children has developed a succinct, easy to understand list of information on the relationship continuum that is characteristic of today’s adoptions.

  • Because of the varied requests and connections people make with one another in planning an adoption, there exists a continuum of approaches to the form of adoption. For simplicity, we are labeling the continuum using the terms most commonly recognized: confidential/closed, semi-open, and fully disclosed/open.
  • With the child as the center of the decision-making, birth and adoptive families are asked to negotiate the amount of contact they wish to have with one another. When speaking of an adoption being open, semi-open, or closed, we are speaking of the relationship between the birth and adoptive families.
  • In general, adoption agencies attempt to bring families together who have similar wishes regarding contact. For example, a birth mother who wants a fully disclosed open adoption would not be shown the profile of an adoptive family who desires a confidential adoption. In making adoption agreements, it is important for the parties to state their expectations clearly.
  • Non-identifying medical information must be shared with adopting parents. This is true for all adoptions.
  • It is important to note that adoption agreements in some states are good faith agreements and not legally binding contracts. In these informal agreements either birth or adoptive families may choose to change or stop previously agree upon visits and contacts. Other states (like New York, for example) do have legally binding agreements that are enforceable.