Emotional Considerations for Making a Decision
Making the decision about an open or closed adoption requires both logic and emotions, so you must be willing to devote time to the decision. If you get into a situation where the birth mom wants an open relationship and you're uncomfortable with the idea, don't agree just because you desperately want a baby.
Seek out adoptive-parent groups where you can meet parents who will understand and support your dilemma and who can offer their own perspectives on this issue. The National Adoption Clearinghouse publishes a National Adoption Directory with state-by-state listings of adoption agencies, parent groups, and other organizations.
Authorities and experienced adoptive parents agree that very young children can become confused if a definite line isn't drawn between the parent and birth parent. The age of the child is crucial; when your child is young, she should be able to settle into your family and gain a sense of belonging without confusion over who her parents are. There's an old saying that “too many cooks spoil the broth,” meaning that when too many people have authority to make decisions, conflicts can ensue. In the same way, too many parents can damage your child's emotional development.
You should also consider how your child will feel without any contact or information about her birth family. This is the flip side of the coin, and another situation you must consider in your decision.
As mentioned earlier, your family must be your child's primary place to grow up. Others can support and help you, and lots of people can love your child as extended family, but only you and your spouse or partner should make the important decisions while your child is young.
You must think about how an open or closed adoption will impact the family you are creating. Consider these kinds of questions:
How will you cope with a birth mother in an open adoption who regrets her decision?
How will you handle questions from a child who does not understand why her birth parents are unknown?
What will you do if a birth father begins to demand more and more visits with your child?
How will you explain a biological grandmother who is very involved, but then suddenly backs out of the situation?
What might you do if you realize several months into an open adoption that it makes you very uncomfortable?
If a birth parent acted inappropriately and you needed to cut off contact, how would you explain that to your child who has developed a rewarding relationship with her?
These are the kinds of possible scenarios you should ponder when weighing open versus closed adoption.