- An Open Adoption is when the adoption files are part of the public record and all the parties known.
- A Closed Adoption is when the records are sealed by the court. State law determines when–if ever–the records can be opened.
Whose Rights Win Out
Until the middle of the 20th century, almost all of the domestic adoption records were sealed. The identity of the birth mother was locked up which gave the adoptive parents the right to choose if their adopted child would know about the adoption. That is where the “are you going to tell him that he is adopted” came from.
As international adoption came of age in America and we moved into an era of recognizing the rights of groups, many states began passing laws allowing for the choice if adoptions would be open or closed, and some states provide the option for the adopted child the right to open their records.
Almost all international adoptions are open; however, many of the children come to the adoption process as an orphan with no family-of-origin information.
Moving into the 21st century, many adults adopted as children are calling for all states to open all adoption records. This is where the ethical question comes in: whose rights take precedence in open and closed adoption, the birth parent or the adopted child?
Not all birth mothers want the world know that they relinquish a child for adoption. I think choosing adoption over abortion wipes away many sins but I am not in charge of such things. In some situations, the adoption was closed to protect the safety of the child.
Whose Rights are Right?
If we make all adoptions open will this make adoption a less attractive option to a mother in need? Doesn’t everyone have the right to know from where they came from? What are your thoughts?