How does closed and open adoption differ?

Find out the difference between open and closed adoptions. Learn how they may affect both parties and how Kansas law affects getting information after an adoption.

Both the adoptive family and birth parents have options when it comes to handling an adoption in Kansas. One of those is whether it will be open or closed. In general, these terms refer to the exchange of information, but it may also refer to the amount of involvement. Before you adopt or give a baby up for adoption, you should understand them.

Open adoptions

According to American Adoptions, the most common type of adoption is an open arrangement. Open means that the birth parents or at least the birth mother provide the adoptive family with information. This may include identifying information, such as her name, the father's name, contact information, medical history and other helpful information. In many cases, the adoptive family also shares information. This could include pictures and letters to allow the birth mother to stay somewhat involved in the child's life.

There are varying degrees to open adoption. Some families are very open and the birth parents visit and remain in the child's life. Other times, involvement may include phone calls on special days and holidays. There are also times when parties just exchange essential information, and there is no contact after finalization of the adoption. All parents may work together to determine the extent of the open relationship. Generally, agencies allow the birth mother to set the perimeters.

Closed adoptions

In contrast to open adoption, there is closed adoption. This is when there is no identifying information shared between each party. This used to be very popular and the standard, but now it is not so common. In fact, it is often viewed as being problematic since it provides no information to the child who may one day need it or just may want to know more about his or her birth family.

Adoptions With Love, Inc. explains that there is usually no contact before the adoption or after between the adoptive and birth families. Adoptive families may get medical information, but that is all. If a child wants more information later, he or she may get it from the state.

The Kansas Department for Children and Families does provide limited records to adoptive children who are at least 18 years old. This may include information about parents and siblings, but only if the person had a relationship with siblings before being adopted and siblings are at least 18 years old. There is no information about extended family unless they reach out to DCF and provide letters that will then go in the adoption file.

If you are in an adoption situation, whether you are a parent or child, and you want more information, it is helpful to contact an attorney, such as the Stange Law Firm, PC. This can make it easier to navigate the legal options in the situation.