Open or Closed Adoption: Pros of Each

Adoption, in and of itself, is a complicated and confusing process. Adding to the complexity, there are several different methods for adoption. In order to decide the best method for you, read on to learn about the benefits associated with confidential, mediated, and open adoptions .

Types of Adoptions

  • 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
  • Provides real choice for birth parents when compared to open adoption.
  • Privacy.
  • Some feel this provides a sense of closure and ability to move on with life.
  • Allows for some information transfer between birth and adoptive parents (and perhaps the child).
  • Some privacy.


  • Increased ability to deal with grief and loss.
  • Comfort in knowing child's well-being.
  • Sense of control over decision-making in placement.
  • Potential for more fully defined role in child's life.
  • Potential to develop a healthy relationship with the child as he or she grows.
  • Less pain and guilt about the decision.
  • May make the decision to place for adoption easier (compared to a contested termination of parental rights trial).
Adoptive Parents
  • No need to physically share the child with birth parents.
  • No danger of birth parent interference or co-parenting
  • Greater sense of control over process.
  • Roles may be more clearly defined than in either confidential or open options.
  • Increased sense of entitlement compared to confidential adoptions.
  • Enhanced ability to answer child's questions about his or her history.


  • Increased sense of having the "right" to parent and increased ability for confident parenting.
  • Potential for authentic relationship with the birth family.
  • More understanding of children's history.
  • Increased empathy for birth parents.
  • Less fear of birth parents reclaiming child because they know the parent and their wishes.
  • Delight of being "chosen" as a parent.


Adopted Persons
  • Protection from unstable or emotionally disturbed birth parents.

Only applicable if the relationship is "shared" with the adopted child:

  • Genetic and birth history known.
  • Birthparents are "real" not "fantasy."
  • Positive adjustment is promoted in adoptee.
  • Direct access to birth parents and history.
  • Need to search is eliminated.
  • Identity questions are answered (Who do I look like? Why was I placed?).
  • Eases feelings of abandonment.
  • Lessening of fantasies: birth parents are "real."
  • Increased circle of supportive adults.
  • Increased attachment to adoptive family (especially if the birth parents support the placement).
  • Preservation of connections (e.g., with siblings, relatives).
  • Lessens loyalty conflicts (according to recent research).
  • Exposure to racial and ethnic heritage.
  • Ability for evolving, dynamic, and developmentally appropriate account of the adoption.

More Information

For more general information on the topic, browse FindLaw's section on adoption. You may also want to consult with an adoption attorney to advise you of your legal rights and options.

Next Steps

Contact a qualified attorney specializing in adoptions.

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