Understanding the Pros and Cons of Open Adoptions

Posted on in Family law

Many people may not have heard the term “open adoption” before. The concept of an open adoption is a relatively new one–it started gaining popularity in the United States in the 1980s and 90s. Now, it is estimated that the vast majority of domestic adoptions (nearly 95 percent) involve some degree of openness. Open adoptions are gaining popularity due to the benefits they provide for birth parents and the children themselves.

What Is an Open Adoption?

In a traditional or closed adoption, the identities of the birth parents are kept confidential, and they have no contact with the adoptive family before or after the child is adopted. In these cases, the thought process tended to be that if the birth parents knew where the child was, they might attempt to take the child back at some point. However, this would be against the law, because once a child is adopted, the adoptive family is considered the child’s legal family.

In an open adoption, one or both of the birth parents are involved in the child’s life to varying degrees or have some form of contact with the adoptive family. There are no set types of open adoptions; rather, each open adoption is structured to meet the families’ needs. The adoption could be fully open, where the child, adoptive family, and birth parents have regular contact with each other and form relationships, or the adoption could be semi-open or mediated, meaning the families communicate indirectly with each other through an adoption agency.

Pros and Cons of Open Adoptions

Like everything else, there are pros and cons to choosing an open adoption. Many say the benefits outweigh the drawbacks, but it all comes down to what you are comfortable with.


There have been many studies that have found positive effects that open adoptions have on the child, the birth parents, and the adoptive family. These benefits include:

  • High levels of satisfaction with relationships that the children have with their birth parents.
  • Increased communication within adoptive families.
  • Better grief resolution for birth mothers.
  • High levels of satisfaction with the adoption process.
  • Increased self-worth and sense of identity for children.
  • Easier access to family medical records for the child.


There are certain elements of an open adoption that some people may not like. It comes down to what you and your family are comfortable with, but some possible drawbacks of an open adoption are:

  • Boundary issues: In a completely open adoption, children have relationships with both their birth parents and adoptive family. Sometimes, the birth parents struggle with their role in the child’s life, and the adoptive family is confused about how to involve them. However, this often can be resolved with a written agreement defining proper boundaries.
  • The birth parents and adoptive families do not get along.
  • The birth parents stop being a part of the child’s life, confusing and hurting the child.

Rely on a DuPage County Family Law Attorney

If you are thinking adoption could be a way for you to grow your family, you should consider all of your options, including an open adoption. With the help of a knowledgeable and passionate Warrenville adoption lawyer, you can ensure that your adoption is what you want it to be. The Law Offices of Nancy Kasko, LLC can help you figure out which type of adoption is best for you and your family and guide you through the process. To begin your adoption journey, call our office at 630-836-8540 to set up a free consultation.