In the past few decades, adoption has changed radically. A 2008 survey found that 55% of adoptions were considered open adoptions and 40% were mediated or semi-open. That means that only 5% of adoptions were considered closed adoptions. But the definition of an open adoption or mediated adoption can vary from person to person and agency to agency. Unfortunately, there are times when the mother placing her baby for adoption and the family adopting the child have different expectations. This can lead to stress and disappointment on both sides of the adoption. If you are looking for an open adoption, here are a few tips to make sure you get the type adoption you desire. 

Know the Terminology 

The three main types of adoptions are closed, mediated, and open. However, some adoption agencies consider mediated adoptions a type of open adoption called a semi-open adoption. A closed adoption means that no identifying information is shared between you and the adopting family and there will be no contact. Once the adoption is complete, you will not receive updates about your child and you may have to agree to not make contact with your child until they are over 18. 

A mediated or semi-open adoption usually involves sending updates through the adoption agency. This may involve letters or pictures. You may send items to the adoptive family and they will be required to send updates to you. Usually semi-open adoptions have a time limit, such as 2-5 years. After that time is up, the adoption essentially becomes a closed adoption. However, some families do decide to keep in touch with the birth mother after the mediation expires. 

An open adoption usually means that you can have direct contact with your child or the adoptive family through letters, emails, phone calls, or visits. At the very least, you know who has adopted your child and they know who you are. 

Be Upfront About What You Want 

When you begin your search for an adoptive family, it is important to know what kind of adoption you want and to be honest about your desires. This will help the adoption agency you work with to find a family that will not only agree to your demands, but one that wants a similar adoption as you. If you change the type of adoption you want just before your baby is placed, you may find that you meet resistance in the next few years. 

Work With a Lawyer 

Once you decide what type of an adoption you want, you should work out the details with a lawyer. If possible, you should hire your own lawyer to represent you rather than depending on the lawyer who works for your adoption agency. You should make sure that you have a detailed written agreement that outlines the relationship between you and the adoptive parents. This will hold both sides of the adoption accountable for communication and also make the expectations for future communication clear between both parties. 

Uphold Your End of the Deal 

Once you have an adoption agreement, you should be careful to uphold your obligations in it. If you miss letters or phone calls, you may lose your right to contact your child because you may be viewed as an unstable influence in their life. Similarly, if you push for more contact, then the adoptive family may cut off all contact because you may be seen as harassing them or the child. If you need to change the adoption agreement, you should work with a lawyer to draft a new agreement, making sure to continue your current obligations until the new agreement is signed.

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