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What Are the Cons of an Open Adoption for Birth Family?


Question: What Are the Cons of an Open Adoption for Birth Family?
While there may be several positives to an open adoption, there are also several negatives to consider as well.

Open Adoptions Bring Possible Boundary Issues

Some birth families may struggle with knowing how they fit into the big picture in an open adoption. Adoptive families may struggle with knowing how to incorporate two sets of parents. While one set parents actively, the other set brought about life and a sense of stability and roots.

  • Be prepared for boundaries in regards to visitation, phone calls, and input from you to be set by the adoptive parents. If boundaries are not set early on, bring up the conversation. It would be best to know up front rather than risk crossing a line that you didn't know existed.

  • Remember, everything can be renegotiated as time goes on.

Open Adoptions Are Not Guaranteed

At this writing and to my knowledge, there is no legal contract that binds an adoptive parent to honor open adoption arrangements. This means that an adoptive parent can end an open adoption at any time and for any reason.

  • Check the laws in your area.
  • Ask a lot of questions.
  • If you have doubts or if something doesn't set right with a set of adoptive parents, keep looking or explore parenting.

Open Adoptions Bring Possible Unrealistic Expectations

Unmet expectations can be an issue on both sides of an open adoption. A birth parent may expect perfect parenting and family life from an adoptive parent, while an adoptive parent may expect the birth parent to be free from all faults.

  • If you choose an open adoption, be prepared to discover that your child's adoptive parents are not perfect.
  • Be prepared to disagree with their parenting styles. This may be a question to ask when choosing an adoptive parent.
  • Be prepared to feel that you have to be perfect in order to maintain contact with your placed child.
  • Again, it's important to establish boundaries at the very beginning of the relationship. This is for life. While roles and expectations may change, your child's need for all of you in his life, will not.

Open Adoptions May be Emotionally Draining

Contact with your child may trigger a very emotional response and set about the cycle of grief. While normal, this may be a lot to handle. You may also experience disappointment and grief with the quality or amount of contact with your child.

  • Join a support group for birth family.
  • Give yourself permission to feel and grieve your loss.
  • Locate and lean upon supportive friends and family.
  • Consider counseling if the grief starts to interfere with day to day living.

Consider This:
Notice how the cons seems to be about the communication, comfort level and social issues between adoptive and birth parents. Keep this in mind while you visit the list of Pros of an Open Adoption.

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