Open Adoption Facts

The adoption experts at the IAC are used to addressing the fears of prospective adoptive parents. Understand what these fears are, and their realities with these open adoption facts:

CONCERN: Open adoption is risky.

FACT: At the IAC, we believe that open adoption is less risky. Since 1982, the IAC has worked with thousands of adoptive parents and birthparents. We carefully evaluate to make certain that there is a sound match between both parties. This lays the groundwork for stable, legally binding adoptions.

CONCERN: Open adoption is very expensive.

FACT: IAC has a sliding scale. If you live in California, Texas, Indiana, Georgia or North Carolina click here to see the fees. If you live in any other state click here.

In addition, based on your adjusted gross income, the federal adoption tax credit is now as much as $13,170. Adoptive parents who sign with the IAC pay fees in steps as the adoption progresses, with the final fee not paid until their baby is born. This fee covers any counseling support needed until their child is 18 years old. In the majority of our adoptions, the total expenses run between $20,000 and $25,000 before the federal tax credit is applied; this can reduce the total paid to less than $8,000 for all fees and expenses.

CONCERN: Isn't it harder for a woman to accept the placement if she sees her child regularly?

FACT: Because birthparents are able to see the child being well cared for and loved in the adoptive home, they are reassured that the child has the kind of life they wanted for him or her. Had they not been able to see their child, it would only increase their fear that the child was not being cared for.

CONCERN: I'll feel jealous of, or threatened by, the birthparents if they are in our lives.

FACT: The majority of adoptive parents do not feel this way and are glad that the birthparents are part of their child's life. Most open adoption participants soon find that post-birth relations between birthparents and adoptive parents can be just as positive as with any new addition to a family, whether by marriage or adoption. Our counselors are there to ensure that the extent of visitation and contact are agreed to in advance by both adoptive parents and birthparents.

CONCERN: There are no boundaries in an open adoption. The birthparents will visit whenever they want.

FACT: Adoptive parents and birthparents create an open adoption agreement, an individualized plan that outlines in advance the number of ongoing visits, and the exchange of letters and photos.

CONCERN: Ongoing contact will only benefit the birthparents.

FACT: Openness benefits all involved. It allows an adopted child to go on with life and development without mysteries as to their birthparents, brothers or sisters, health history and genetic roots. It solidifies the adopted child's relationships, as they know that the people who are raising them are their true life-long parents. They will feel more secure in their family and home, while having the comfort of other special people in their life, from aunts and uncles to birthparents. Without unnecessary mysteries or secrets for all parties, lives can go on more peacefully.

CONCERN: In an open adoption, my extended family will be less welcoming of my child.

FACT: The openness of an adoption has major advantages. Most prospective adoptive parents involve their family and network of friends in the adoption process right from the beginning. They talk to everyone they can about the details of open adoption and their decision to adopt, and ask for assistance in spreading the word about their efforts to find birthparents. Some people are skeptical because they know little about open adoption. However, most adopting parents and birthparents can explain open adoption to friends and relatives in ways that help to alleviate their fears.

CONCERN: I am afraid open adoption will be confusing for my child.

FACT: Children in open adoption are not confused by knowing both their adoptive parents and their birthparents. They understand their birthparents represent their biological origins and their adoptive parents are simply mom and dad. They know who their parents are: they are the people who are raising them, who are always there, and who love and take care of them every day.

CONCERN: When my child is a teenager, she will want to live with her birthparents.

FACT: This is less likely to happen when children know their birthparents, as they have no fantasies about their birthparents. Children of open adoption bond with their adoptive parents just as strongly as children who are raised by their biological parents.

CONCERN: I'm afraid the birthparents will try to undermine my relationship with my child.

FACT: In an open adoption, the birthparents' role is to support the adoptive parents as the child's parents. The birthparents do not compete with the adoptive parents. Healthy open adoption relationships feature reasonable and mutually respected boundaries.

CONCERN: If my child's birthparents see how cute and happy he is, won't they want him back?

FACT: No, when birthparents see how happy the child is, it reinforces that they made the right decision.