Helping America's Most Vulnerable

Openness in Adoption

Why Openness in Adoption?

Historically, adoptions have been "closed," meaning that adoptive parents' and the birth parents' identities were kept secret from one another with no contact or exchange of information. Records were sealed permanently. 

The face of adoption has changed drastically in the past several decades, as adoption plans have included opennesss. Volunteers of America has been a long-time advocate of openness adoption. In our program, birth parents and adoptive couples are able to negotiate the degree of openness appropriate for them.  For some, this may mean telephone calls, letters or visits before and after the birth of the child. For others, the degree of openness may be different. With openness in adoption:

Birth parents can -

  • choose the adoptive couple who will raise their child;
  • have telephone calls and visits with the adoptive parents before and after the birth;
  • receive pictures and updates about the child; 
  • know about their child’s whereabouts; 
  • feel a sense of security and comfort, and
  • have confirmation that the child is loved and cared for.

The child can - 

  • be free from unanswered questions about why she or he was placed for adoption;
  • have letters, videos, photos and gifts from the birth parents;
  • have answers to questions such as "who do I look like?" and
  • be free from obsessions with "unknowns" later in life.

Adoptive parents can - 

  • know the connection between their child and the birth parents;
  • receive updates about birth parents, rather than wondering how they're doing;
  • become part of the child’s and birthparents' lives early in the pregnancy;
  • be free from fears that can surround adoption and birth parents, and
  • have a way to help the child contact the birth parents when the child is ready or has questions.

The majority of our placements are in Louisiana. We believe that placing a child in the state where the birth parents live makes it easier for the birth parents to visit and have a relationship with the child and adoptive parents.