Open Adoption

The Cradle embraces an open adoption philosophy and practice for domestic adoptions. In open adoptions, birth families and adoptive families have the opportunity to get to know one another before and after placement, in a way that is comfortable and acceptable for everyone. An open adoption relationship can take the form of phone calls, visits, exchanging photos and letters - like any other relationship, yours will evolve over time.

The spirit of openness in adoption means sharing your child's adoption story with her often and creating an open atmosphere to talk with her about how she became part of your family, and helping her understand and acknowledge that her birthparents are special people who made a very special choice for her. Ultimately, you are removing the secrecy that often used to be a part of adoption and supporting the spirit of openness. You will be helping your child by giving her the language and permission to talk about her adoption, birth story and birthparents.

Because adoptive parents often have questions and concerns about open adoption, The Cradle offers preparation for an open adoption experience. We help you question and learn more about it so you will understand its value for you and your child.

The benefits of open adoption

Our experience with open adoption has revealed the following benefits for all members of the adoption circle:

Open adoption benefits for the child:

  • A clearer sense of identity
  • Understanding they are loved by their birth family and why they chose adoption
  • Ready access to information about their medical and social history
  • Access to biological siblings, if there are any

Open adoption benefits for adoptive parents:

  • Knowledge that birthparents chose adoption freely and willingly
  • A feeling of entitlement and being personally entrusted to raise the child
  • Dissolution of fantasies about birthparents or fear of the unknown
  • Greater ability to answer the child's questions about his or her origins
  • Ongoing access to birthhparents' medical and social histories

Open adoption benefits for birthparents:

  • An opportunity to personally answer their birth child's questions about his or her adoption
  • Reassurance of knowing the child is safe and thriving.

Read more about open adoption research findings on the Child Welfare Information Gateway website.

Open adoption 16 years later

Video Transcript

Slide: Meet Georgina and her parents, Jody and John

John: My name’s John.

Georgina: Georgina.

Jody: And I’m Jody and we came to The Cradle about 16 years ago. What the ultimate goal is we wanted a family. And so we had to create a family in a different way.

Georgina: Everyone knows I’m adopted. It’s not something that I like hide, it’s like a part of me. It’s who I am and I’m fine with that. It’s kinda cool. I like it, it makes me unique. I don’t like think for a second that these aren’t my real parents or anything—they’re just my parents. There’s like no other word for them. I love them, they love me.

Slide: Georgina's adoption journey... 

Jody: On January 3rd, I got a phone call while I was at work. They asked us if we would come and meet the birth family that next day. And look (points to the wall at a photo of Georgina as a child) there’s your picture.

Slide: Melody, Georgina's birth mom, stays in touch... 

Jody: We started off with a closed adoption and we exchanged information through The Cradle and within a few months, we started developing a relationship through letters and from the first time we met we decided, at that point, that it was time to give our information. I remember we were playing in the basement one day and the phone rang and you loved to answer the phone. You were about three years old. You answered the phone and you go, “Hello!” and you go, “Oh, hi Melody!” And it was the first time Melody ever called you.

And you went to preschool the next day, “Ms. Marine, My birth mom called me last night!” You were so willing to share her and to tell everybody about her.

Georgina: I’m friends with her on Facebook now. It was maybe a few months ago, it was tight on my birthday this year she sent me a really long Facebook message explaining everything in case I had questions or anything, and it was basically why she did it because she wanted the life for me. She wanted to make sure that by being Facebook friends that she wasn’t intruding or I wasn’t uncomfortable or anything and I said, “No, it’s perfectly fine. I like being able to be in touch with her." It’s nice to know what’s going on in her life, and for her to know what’s going on in mine. It was really nice to get that message from her too. I have her phone number, I texted her on Mother’s Day, I was like 'Happy Mother's day,' on Christmas.

I don’t resent her at all. I’m really glad because I know her situation and I’m glad that I got to grow up with my family. I love my family.