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Cons of Each Type of Adoption for the Involved Parties

Because new relationships are formed while old relationship are coming to an end, adoption can be a highly emotional process for all of the parties involved. As is the case with most things, there are pros and cons to each form of adoption. Read on to get a breakdown of the downsides associated with confidential, mediated, and open adoptions.

Types of Adoption

  • Confidential Adoptions: No contact between birth and adoptive families. Only nonidentifying information (e.g., height, hair color, medical history, etc.) is provided through a third party (e.g., agency or attorney).
  • Mediated (Semi-Open) Adoptions: Nonidentifying contact is made (via cards, letters, pictures) through a third party (e.g., agency or attorney).
  • Open Adoptions: Direct interaction between birth and adoptive families. Identities are known.
  Confidential Adoptions Mediated (Semi-Open) Adoptions Open Adoptions
Birth Parents
  • Less grief resolution due to lack of information about the child's well-being.
  • May encourage denial of fact that child was born and placed with another family.
  • Loss of potential for direct relationship with adoptive family (and/or child).
  • Increased grief in the initial years, less later.
  • Loss of contact if intermediary changes or leaves (i.e., staff turnover, policy changes, or agency closings).
  • Birth mother may feel obligated to place child due to the emotional or financial support given by the prospective adoptive parents.
  • Full responsibility for setting relationship limits and boundaries.
  • Potential abuse of trust (fewer safeguards).
  • Potential disappointment if adoptive family cannot meet all expectations or needs.
  • Birth mother may feel obligated to place child due to the emotional or financial support given by the prospective adoptive parents.
Adoptive Parents
  • Allows for denial of "adopted family" or fertility status.
  • Increased fear, less empathy for birth parents.
  • No access to additional medical information about birth family.
  • Less control: agency controls information.
  • Loss of the full relationship with the birth parents.
  • Lack of ability to have questions answered immediately.
  • Potentially troubling cards, letters, or pictures.
  • Full responsibility for setting relationship limits and boundaries.
  • Potential pressure: accept openness or no child.
  • Potential difficulty with emotionally disturbed birth parents.
  • Potential for supporting both child and birth parents (emotionally).
Adopted Persons
  • Possible adolescent identity confusion (unable to compare physical and emotional traits to their birth families).
  • Limited access to information that others take for granted.
  • Potential preoccupation with adoption issues.
  • Similar to confidential adoptions, if information not shared with the adoptee.
  • Potential perception that it is unsafe to interact with birth family directly.
  • No clean break for assimilation into family, which some feel is necessary.
  • Potential feelings of rejection if contact stops.
  • Difficulty explaining the relationship to peers.
  • Potential for playing families against each other.

More Information

For more general information, feel free to check out FindLaw's section on adoption. For more individualized assistance, you may want to consider consulting with an adoption attorney.

Next Steps
Contact a qualified attorney specializing
in adoptions.
(e.g., Chicago, IL or 60611)

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