Open adoption can be a wonderful choice for birth parents, adoptive parents, and adoptees, but there are also some common misconceptions that can lead to confusion or hesitation. Here are some of the most common myths about open adoption:

  • Misconception 1: Open Adoption is Co-Parenting:

Open adoption creates a relationship between the birth family and the adoptive family, but it’s not co-parenting. The adoptive parents have full legal responsibility for the child’s upbringing. You are your child’s parents, just as in any adoption.

  • Misconception 2: Open Adoption Confuses Children:

Research suggests that open adoption can actually benefit children by allowing them to understand their origins and develop a sense of identity. It can also provide them with additional support figures. Communication with the birth parents can help kids to understand why they chose adoption and limit feelings of rejection. Studies have also shown that adoptive parents in open adoptions have more positive feelings about the birth parents and that all parties have greater levels of satisfaction with the adoption.

  • Misconception 3: Birth Parents Will Take Back the Child:

Birth parents placing a child for adoption do so with a great deal of thought and love. Open adoption allows them to maintain a connection with the child while understanding that the adoptive family will raise them. Open adoptions end the parental rights of the birth parents and create a permanent legal bond between the child and the adoptive parents.

  • Misconception 4: Open Adoption Leads to Tension Between Families:

It’s important for all parties involved to be clear about expectations. Your extended family may need some education and some time to become comfortable with the idea of open adoption, but many families welcome the birth parents into their circles of friends and family. Good communication and clear boundaries can make a difference. One piece of information to share is that open adoption is now the norm: 95% of adoptions are now open.

  • Misconception 5: Adoptive Parents Won’t Feel Like Real Parents:

Open adoption doesn’t diminish the role of adoptive parents. Adoptive parents provide a loving and stable home for the child, and the birth family adds another layer of support. The roles are not the same.

  • Misconception 6: There’s Only One Way to Do Open Adoption:

The level of openness in an adoption can vary depending on what feels comfortable for everyone involved. There can be a range of communication methods and frequency of contact. Some open adoption plans allow adopted kids to seek out their birth parents when they are older, some consist of sharing photos and updates on the child without direct contact, and some include birth parents in family events. Working out the details together is the best plan.

  • Misconception 8: Open Adoption is Always Easy:

Open adoption can require work and effort to maintain a healthy relationship among all the parties. However, the potential rewards are significant.

If you’re considering open adoption, Heimer Law can help you understand the process and feel comfortable with your choice.

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