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While much of our conversations revolve around choosing openness in adoption, it’s important to discuss closed adoption as an option as well. Closed adoption refers to an adoption process where there is no interaction of any kind between birth mothers and prospective adoptive families. This means that there is no identifying information provided either to the birth families or adoptive families.

One might first ask, why would a birth mother not want contact with her child? An obvious question with a complex, personal, and unique answer. Choosing adoption in itself is a difficult and overwhelming decision; it is very personal for a woman. Birth mothers not only carry their own guilt and loss but they are burdened with a stigma. We believe this stigma can be broken with education, understanding, and compassion. Here are a few reasons “why” a birth mother might choose a closed adoption:

1 – Too much stress and emotions to deal with. A birth mother may not feel comfortable or willing to deal with those exhausting roller coaster of emotions. There is no standard reasoning behind this personal decision. She may be giving all the mental and emotional strength that she has just to make it through an ordinary day. Maybe she is not ready for those extraordinary emotions that come with contacting her adopted child. So, complete avoidance could be the comfortable zone that birth mother has adapted to on her journey.

2 – A poor connection with the adoptive family. There might be a struggle between the adoptive parents and the birth mother. It’s not a common occurrence since the birth mother chooses the adoptive family, but it’s possible for relationships to dissipate over time. There may also be an actual distance between birth mother and adoptive family. If the family moves far away, it might become difficult to maintain that long distance relationship.

3 – A birth mother might be dealing with an unhealthy lifestyle or other tough life situations.She may be going through a dark time of low self-worth and feels she is not good enough and that her adopted child is better off not knowing her. Maybe a birth mother is dealing with addiction. Addiction sets back an individual regarding every aspect of his or her lives. A birth mother who is dealing with addiction will most likely not have contact with her adopted child.

4 – A birth mother is “sticking to the plan”. Perhaps in the beginning the birth mother decided a closed adoption is the best option and even though she feels like that wasn’t the best decision, she’s sticking to the plan. Or perhaps she chose an open adoption but it’s become too difficult or undesirable and opts to close the adoption. Adoption families and relationships will often shift throughout the process.

5 – The circumstances surrounding an adoption may be her “why”.
– Maybe a birth mother caused harm to her own child which led to an adoption. Of course, shame would be placed upon a birth mother in those circumstances, and protection of the child would be enforced. This would lead to limited contact between a birth mother and her adopted child.
– Maybe a birth mother conceived as a result from a rape or an abusive relationship and made a personal decision to not have contact with her child. These sad circumstances are a reality today which can affect the connection between birth mothers and adopted children.

When a birth mother doesn’t want contact with her adopted child, we don’t want to automatically assume that she is selfish or heartless. Too much stigma and disregard surrounds the birth mother. We want her to feel worthy, valuable, and know that she is not alone. Every adoption story is unique and whether she chooses open adoption or closed adoption, she will always play an important role.

Advantages for Birth Parents

The closed adoption experience can vary depending on individual circumstances.Potential advantages of closed adoption include:

  • Sense of closure – Some birth mothers and birth families report that having a closed adoption provided a sense of closure enabling them to move on with their lives.
  • Privacy– For people who feel threatened and vulnerable by their decision to place a child for adoption, a closed adoption can offer greater privacy.
  • Reduced fear – For birth mothers with concerns about explaining their decision to others, a closed adoption can offer a way to avoid confrontation.

Advantages for Adoptive Family

The closed adoption experience can vary from one adoptive family to another. For adoptive families, potential advantages include:

  • Family Freedom – When birth families are not involved, adoptive families are free enjoy their family time without the potential complications associated with outside intrusion.
  • Absence of fuzzy boundaries – Eliminates the risk of complications that can arise from birth parent interference or co-parenting concerns.

Advantages for the Adopted Child

The closed adoption experience can vary from one child to another. For the adopted child, potential advantages include:

  • Absence of fuzzy boundaries – Eliminates the risk of complications that can arise from birth parent interference or co-parenting concerns.
  • Protection from unstable birth families – Offers the adopted child protection from unstable or emotionally disturbed birth parents or birth family members.

The closed adoption experience tends to vary for each adoption. Communication continues to be a vital factor in the adoption process. As communication about wishes, desires, expectations, etc. improves, the more comfortable everyone involved will be in the adoption process. In a closed adoption, communication normally occurs through an adoption agency or adoption attorney.

Adoption Choices of Kansas & Missouri recognizes both open, semi-open, and closed adoptions. To start your adoption journey, contact us via email or Text or Call: 1-480-900-5520

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