A semi-open adoption occurs when the potential birth mother or birth families experience non-identifying interaction with the adoptive families. In most cases, the interaction is facilitated by a third party which is usually the adoption agency or adoption attorney. Through this type of adoption, the identity of all parties is usually kept from one another. In most cases, the interaction includes letters or cards; however, in some cases, there may be non-identifying e-mails or visits hosted by the adoption professional.
Christian Adoptions Alliance believes that open adoptions are the healthiest and provide the context for the most Christ-centered relationships. A semi-open adoption is an alternative that brings the opportunity for Christ-focused relationships to occur while also creating more distinct boundaries if needed.
One of the main benefits of a semi-open adoption is the opportunity for growth and grace. A birth mother or birth family may be unhealthy at the time of the adoption, but through God’s grace and mercy, their lives change for the better. A semi-open adoption makes it easier to transition into an open adoption if warranted which is usually the best thing for the developing child.
There are several potential reasons to a semi-open adoption for the birth parents, the adoptive parents, and the adopted child.
The semi-open adoption experience is different for each person; however, here is a list of potential reasons or advantages that you as the birth mother might encounter with a semi-open adoption:
Sense of control – Having the ability to review, interview and select the parents you give to your baby usually provides birth moms with a sense of empowerment and control. You want the best for your baby and choosing the parents or family you give to your baby is a positive way to do that.
Privacy – Interaction between you and the adoptive family that is facilitated through the adoption professional provides you with a sense of privacy. Some birth moms want to be involved with the process, but don’t want to be contacted unannounced.
Reduced uncertainties – Most birth mothers experience a sense of comfort knowing the child’s well-being through the interactions and updates provided through the adoption agency or adoption attorney. Letters and pictures can provide insight into the child’s well-being.
Improved mourning – Receiving updates on the child’s well-being, and letters from the adoptive family often provide an increased ability to deal with the grief and loss. Knowing your baby is doing well provides relief and usually makes it easier to work through the grieving process.
Reduced fear – When the adoption professional facilitates ongoing communication between the adoptive and birth families before the birth and following the adoption, it usually helps reduce the fears you might have on what is going to happen to your child.
Reduced guilt – Some birth mothers feel guilty for giving a new family to their baby. Although this shouldn’t be the case, it is a feeling sometimes experienced. Through the updates and letters from the adoptive family provided through the adoption agency, you may experience less guilt about making a decision about placing for adoption.
The semi-open adoption experience is different for every family; however, here is a list of potential reasons or advantages that you might encounter with a semi-open adoption:
Reduced fear – When the adoption professional facilitates ongoing communication between you and the birth mother or birth families before the birth and following the adoption, it usually helps you reduce the fears you might have about the birthmother’s intentions because you are informed about her desires. If you move into an open adoption fear can be further reduced with direct interaction and communication.
Medically informed – A medical history is provided prior to the adoption; however, with a semi-open adoption, there is the potential to go through the adoption agency or attorney to seek additional medical information as things may change as the child develops. Another advantage if you transition into an open adoption making access to this information even easier.
Affirmation – As an adoptive family, you may experience a sense of empowerment or encouragement knowing that you were ‘chosen’ as the adoptive family.
Roles clearly defined – With a semi-open adoption it may be easier to manage the roles of each party involved than it might be with an open adoption. However, in a healthy open adoption, birth moms and birth families often become advocates or support as children develop.
Understanding and confidence – Although lessened as compared to an open adoption, you still have access through the adoption professional to address questions about the child’s history-making it easier to answer the infamous questions about “who am I” and “where did I come from.”
The open adoption experience is different for every child; however, here is a list of potential reasons or advantages that an adopted child might encounter with a semi-open adoption:
Identity and self-confidence – Semi-open adoption provides adopted children access to birth families through the adoption professional, enabling them to acquire information about family history and family trees. This often makes it easier to answer the infamous questions about “Who am I” and “Where did I come from. This can be further enhanced if you are able to transition into an open adoption where children can access their birth families whenever questions arise.”
Protection against a sense of abandonment – Having the opportunity to receive communication from the birth families and receive the reasons behind the adoption can help prevent the child from experience a sense of abandonment.
Absence for the need to search – The potential need to search to find the birth families is removed and is usually not necessary.
Medically informed – A medical history is provided prior to the adoption; however with an open adoption, there is an ability to seek additional medical information that may become necessary with the onset of medical symptoms in adulthood or questions about genetics with future family planning.
The semi-open adoption experience is a different experience for each adoption. The most important thing for all parties involved in the adoption process is communication. The more communication about wishes, desires, expectations, etc., the more comfortable each party will be in the adoption process.
Christian Adoptions Alliance affirms the open adoption model believing that this provides the greatest opportunity to experience the relational character of Christ. Grace and mercy usually abound in solid Christian adoptions and all parties usually experience tremendous blessings. Semi-open adoptions are affirmed as alternatives if there are behavioral concerns such as alcohol or drugs within the birth families.