Telling the Truth to Your Adopted or Foster Child: Making Sense of the Past

By Betsy Keefer; Jayne E. Schooler et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER TWELVE
Opening a Closed Adoption for School-Age Children: Questions Most Asked by Parents

Marsha sat down for the third time this week. She had a letter to write. She just didn't know what to say and how to say it. She was writing to her eleven-year-old son's birth mother and sending the letter through the agency. Jeremy had joined Marsha and Dale's family when he was two days old. Their adoption was typical of adoptions at the time: closed. Totally confidential. No information. No contact. For the last six months, Jeremy has been expressing a need to learn more about his birth mother. For the last two months, he has been saying that he needs to see her.

When the need to open up a closed adoption surfaces in the life of a child, several questions must be addressed before moving forward. This chapter answers fourteen questions often asked by adoptive parents when contemplating opening a closed adoption.


QUESTION 1: WHAT ARE OPENNESS IN ADOPTION AND OPEN ADOPTION?

To understand what opening a closed adoption means, it is important that parents clearly understand the different degrees of openness possible within adoptive relationships.

What Closed Adoption Means: No identifying information is shared between the birth family and the adoptive family. This is also called confidential or traditional adoption. Information may be given to the agency to update the records, but is not intended for transmission to either party. 1

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