Stephen J. Buhler, Attorney at Law

Understand the difference between open and closed adoptions

Not that long ago, many adoptions occurred as closed legal proceedings. This is to say that when a Utah couple elected to adopt a child, they did so without learning the identities of the child's birth parents or any other identifying information about them. Closed adoptions involve closed files that often cannot be opened, even if the children subject to the adoptions wish to view their contents. Today, many international adoptions are still managed as closed processes.

Now, in the United States, it is much more common for an adoption to be open. Birth parents who choose to place their children in other homes and who decide to relinquish their parental rights are often involved in the decision of where their kids will go. They may interview prospective adoptive parents before their babies come into the world and may, after giving up their parental rights, stay involved in the lives of the children.

Open adoptions can have many advantages for families. For example, a child who is raised knowing their birth parents may have fewer questions and concerns about why and how they ended up as an adopted child, rather than being raised by the parents to whom they are biologically related. Open adoptions can be tricky though, when birth parents and adoptive parents do not effectively communicate about their intentions for their relationships with the child and disagreements ensue.

Adoption can be a beautiful way to expand a family. It is, however, a unique process to each and every individual who decides to pursue it. The assistance of a family law attorney can be useful for those who wish to utilize domestic and international paths to adoption.

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