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Open Adoption

What Is Open Adoption?

The Cradle embraces an open adoption philosophy, including contact for domestic adoptions and in intercountry adoptions, when possible. In domestic open adoptions, birth families and adoptive families can get to know one another before and after placement, in a way that is comfortable and acceptable for everyone. An open adoption relationship can take the form of phone calls, texts, emails, visits, exchanging photos and letters, etc. Like any relationship, it will evolve over time.

The spirit of openness in adoption means sharing your child’s adoption story with your child often and creating an open atmosphere to talk about how your child became part of your family, acknowledging that birth parents are special people who made a special choice. Removing the secrecy that often used to be a part of adoption and supporting the spirit of openness will give your child permission to talk about adoption and birth parents and the language to do so.

Your Cradle Counselor will help you question and learn more about open adoption so you will understand its value for you and your child.

The Benefits of Open Adoption

Our experience with open adoption has revealed the following benefits for all members of the adoption circle:Your Cradle Counselor will help you question and learn more about open adoption so you will understand its value for you and your child.

Open adoption benefits for adoptive parents:
  • A clearer sense of identity
  • Understanding they are loved by their birth family and why they chose adoption
  • Ready access to information about their medical and social history
  • Access to biological siblings, if there are any
Open adoption benefits for the child:
  • Knowledge that birth parents chose adoption freely and willingly
  • A feeling of entitlement and being personally entrusted to raise the child
  • Dissolution of fantasies about birth parents or fear of the unknown
  • Greater ability to answer the child’s questions about his or her origins
  • Ongoing access to birth parents’ medical and social histories
Open adoption benefits for birth parents:
  • An opportunity to personally answer their birth child’s questions about the adoption
  • Reassurance of knowing the child is safe and thriving


Read more about open adoption research findings on the Child Welfare Information Gateway website.

The Degree of Openness in Open Adoption

The specifics of an open adoption are different for every family. We ask that, together with your child’s birth parents, you develop an ongoing plan with which you are both comfortable. The open relationship is going to be different for every situation. Some states have post adoption contact agreements that are legally enforceable.

It is our experience that open relationships may develop into something different than originally planned. Generally, adoptive parents look for more contact as time goes by than do the birth parents. Most of our adoptive parents recognize the benefits that the relationship offers to their child and they look for continued contact. Initially most birth parents want the security that the decision they made was the right one for their child.

Open Adoption in International Adoption

The Cradle universally supports openness in adoption to the extent possible, including to the child’s birth culture, country and where possible, birth family, as these are ways to mitigate the losses that are inherent in adoption.

The degree of openness in intercountry adoption depends on the country and the unique situation. Countries like Ethiopia and Taiwan tend to be more open.

Reunions are increasingly frequent in South Korea, Guatemala, Vietnam, Eastern Europe through the efforts of adoptive parents and adoptees. Learn more about intercountry adoption.

Learn about ways to give

The Cradle’s support for all those touched by adoption is made possible by our community.

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