A closed adoption is where very little, if any, contact information is provided to a child’s birth parents in an attempt to maintain privacy. The biological mother can still choose the adoptive parents and the hospital plan and potentially arrange future contact.
The birth parents can decide how they see their child’s life – with or without siblings, growing up in the city or the country, etc. In some cases, they contract adoption professionals to find an adoptive family.
The mother can decide on the hospital stay: whether she or the adoptive parents will hold the baby first, who else will be in the delivery room with her, and more.
The birth parents might choose a closed adoption but eventually decide they want some contact, like letters or pictures of the child. It’s up to the adoptive family if this will happen.
Advantages and disadvantages of a closed adoption
Closed adoptions are the rarest kind with the most downsides. There is one advantage – the high degree of privacy for adoptive families. They don’t have to send letters and picture updates or interact with the birth mother and father at the hospital. They don’t need to exchange emails and talk to their biological parents on the phone.
There are many disadvantages for the adopted child. They don’t know anything about their birth parents – what they look like, why they gave them away, etc. In a closed adoption, the child might never get these questions answered and feel a void as a result.
However, they can always search for their birth mother and father, even without much info to go on. There’s no guarantee they will find birth parents, but they do have extensive information at their fingertips through the Internet today. People search sites can be very helpful.
How to optimize your search
The International Soundex Reunion Registry (ISRR) and other databases have a lot of info for people who are looking for lost family members. Mutual consent registries and databases can match individuals with others they are seeking, both on a national and state level. Adoptees can join a mailing list or a support group for further information and get new ideas for search techniques.
Social networks can also be quite helpful. Adoptees can enter details they know about their birth parents on Facebook, such as their names and where they were born. They’ll see various profiles and can send possible match messages. An even better approach is to put a story out and ask others to share it. Someone on social media might know the person’s birth parents.
Closed adoption is not the best option
Birth parents miss out on some things if they pursue a closed adoption. They won’t have any idea how their child looks, how they’re growing up, if they’re happy or not, etc. Adoptive parents will have access to a limited number of birth mothers because few seek closed adoption. Most birth parents are looking for an open or semi-open one.
An adoptive family that successfully adopts a child in a closed adoption might be happy about not having contact with the biological parents, but there are some downsides in their situation too. They will find it challenging to obtain updated medical information about the biological parents. The info they get during the adoption is quite limited. It’s important for the child to get updates on new medical conditions.
Lack of contact with the birth parents increases the level of uncertainty. Families who know something about the birth parents will be aware of what’s happening in their lives and why they chose adoption.