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If you’re looking to make an adoption plan for your baby or to find a family for your baby, remember to consider how open you want your adoption to be! Adoption has come a long way. They used to be done in secret and closed in communication afterward. Through the years, research showed that this was not best for anyone (the child, birth mother, or adoptive family), and slowly more adoptions have become open adoptions.

With us, all adoptions are open, but how open they are depends on your preferences as the birth mother! So, how do you decide how open you want your adoption to be? This article includes a few things to keep in mind as you decide.

Open adoption does not look like one particular thing.

It depends on your preferences and the relationship between you and the adoptive family. It can be an adoptive family sending yearly pictures and updates through an adoption agency, having an open relationship where they may email directly, share phone numbers, and visit, or even a relationship as close as family friends.

So the first thing to do is decide your own thoughts about it. What are your desires for this relationship? What do you think is the best case scenario? Your pregnancy counselor is trained to walk with you through different pictures of openness so you know what your own desires are. After you choose a family, you can discuss openness together to see where you feel comfortable starting. Your pregnancy counselor can be with you through this entire process.

It’s important to keep the child’s best interest in mind.

Research shows us that having some sort of relationship between the child and birth parents is healthy for the child (as well as the birth family!). This doesn’t mean the relationship is easy or without awkwardness or uncertainty at times. There may be times when your child’s parents may have a suggestion about a letter or visit, based on their thoughts on the best interest of the child. Knowing that you both care deeply for the child helps you to be on the same page about openness.

It’s okay to start slow

Remember, you have years to develop this relationship. The best way for more openness to come about is through a long-term relationship. Your pregnancy counselor can talk with you about options for communication: talking through an adoption agency, setting up an non-identifying email address to email directly, etc. As you grow in closeness over the years, you and the adoptive family may decide to communicate in additional ways.