Choosing Semi-Open Adoption [3 Ways it Benefits Everyone]

Why Some People Choose Semi-Open Adoption

You are most likely unfamiliar with common adoption terms if you’re starting your adoption journey. But, you may have a vague idea of how you’d like your adoption to go.

For example, you may want to get a yearly photo and email update about your baby after you give birth. But, you would prefer to keep your personal information to yourself. If this is the case, you may want to choose a semi-open adoption.

Adoption specialists often refer to semi-open adoption as the best of both worlds because it allows:

  • Privacy for the birth parents and adoptive parents
  • The birth mother a chance to see her child grow up
  • The adoptive parents’ chances to get information from the birth parents about their family history and lives

If you’ve already considered your adoption options and know that semi-open adoption is right for your situation, you can reach out to an adoption specialist today to create your adoption plan. But, if you want to find out more about how semi-open adoption works, continue reading.

What is Semi-Open Adoption?

Semi-open adoption is one of three types of adoption you, the prospective birth mother, can choose. You are always in charge of your and your baby’s adoption type.

Semi-Open Adoption Definition

Semi-open adoption – also known as mediated adoption – allows birth moms and adoptive families to have mediated contact. All personal information is kept confidential.

For example, you may choose to meet the hopeful adoptive family before you give birth and agree to regular mediated phone calls and once-a-year meetings. All contact would go through an adoption specialist so you and the adoptive family can maintain your privacy.

How to Start the Semi-Open Adoption Process

Thankfully, choosing semi-open adoption and getting the adoption process started is straightforward. Generally, you can expect to go through 3 steps when choosing semi-open adoption.

Step 1: Choose an Adoption Agency to Work With

When you choose adoption, you can work with two types of agencies:

  • Local or regional agency: An agency that serves prospective birth moms and hopeful adoptive families in your region or state. You typically can meet your adoption specialist in person.
  • National agency: An agency that serves prospective birth moms and hopeful adoptive families throughout the United States. While you may not be able to meet your adoption specialist in person, these agencies typically have a larger staff, more resources, and some offer 24/7 support.

Both types of agencies can help you create a semi-open adoption plan.

Step 2: Work With an Adoption Specialist to Outline Your Semi-Open Adoption’s Guidelines

Your adoption specialist is in charge of helping you create your adoption plan. Two significant parts of the adoption plan are:

  • Outlining your semi-open adoption
  • Choosing an adoptive family who also wants a semi-open adoption

Outlining Your Semi-Open Adoption Contact Preferences 

Choosing semi-open adoption allows you to pick and choose the type of contact you are comfortable having with the hopeful adoptive family and your baby.

Some common types of pre-placement contact prospective birth moms and hopeful adoptive families have is:

  • A mediated conference call: Your adoption specialist will help arrange a mediated call between you and the hopeful adoptive family so you can ask each other questions and get to know each other.
  • An in-person meeting: Many prospective birth moms also choose to meet the hopeful adoptive family at least once before they give birth. During this mediated visit, you can ask the hopeful adoptive family any follow-up questions you’ve thought of since the conference call.
  • Interaction at the hospital: It’s also up to you if you’d like to interact with the hopeful adoptive family at the hospital before and after you give birth. You also can determine if you’d like the family in the delivery room.

Some common types of post-placement mediated contact you can choose to have with the adoptive family and your child includes:

  • Photo exchanges: You can do this by setting up an anonymous email address to exchange written emails and photos. Or, you and the adoptive family can send physical photos to your adoption specialist. Once your specialist receives the photos, they will pass them along, sans everyone’s personal information.
  • Phone calls: Everyone can engage in regular, mediated phone calls.
  • Mediated in-person meetings: Everyone can arrange for an in-person meeting to catch up. The adoption specialist will be present and mediate to ensure everyone’s information remains private. 

Choosing an Adoptive Family Who Also Wants a Semi-Open Adoption

After detailing the type of communication you’d like to maintain during and after your pregnancy, your adoption specialist will start to send you adoptive family profiles that meet your criteria.

You don’t have to worry about the hopeful adoptive family agreeing with your semi-open adoption terms because you are in control of the adoption process. Your adoption specialist will only send you profiles of families who are comfortable having the type of mediated contact you outline.

Step 3: Continue Your Life While Maintaining Mediated Contact with the Adoptive Family, and Your Child

After you give birth, your baby’s adoptive family will take them home. You will return home to recover, continue your post-pregnancy life plans, and plan for any post-placement mediated conversations and meetings you will have.

Pros and Cons of Semi-Open Adoption: Is it Right for You?

Pros of Semi-Open Adoption

  • For you: If you think an open adoption – an adoption where you and the adoptive family exchange personal information – is too much to handle, semi-open adoption is a good choice. Semi-open adoption allows you to maintain your privacy while also allowing you to see your baby grow up.
  • Adoptive family: Being open to semi-open adoption allows adoptive families to find out the birth mom’s history and their baby’s life story while remaining partially anonymous. This type of adoption can help you clarify any questions you may have about the birth parents’ history throughout the adoption while maintaining your privacy.
  • Your baby: Your baby will benefit from getting to know you and their family’s history. Your child also will have the opportunity to continue their relationship with you as they grow older.

Cons of Semi-Open Adoption

  • For you: Over the years, you may become frustrated that your contact with the adoptive family and your child isn’t instantaneous. Or, you may start to wish you could have more contact with your child or none at all. Although you may have an idea of how you will feel after post-placement, it’s impossible to know for sure. 
  • Adoptive family: Although your adoption professional will do everything in their power to keep everyone’s personal information private, mistakes happen. For example, someone at the hospital could accidentally say your last name, or the birth mom may stumble across one of your social media profiles. 

Final Thoughts

If you think you’d benefit from getting some updates about your child post-placement but know you want to maintain your privacy after you give birth, semi-open adoption may be the right choice for your situation.

Remember: No matter your adoption choice, know that it’s entirely up to you. You are always in control of your semi-open adoption. 

Fill out our online form if you’re ready to talk to us about semi-open adoption.

About the Author

Lindsay Arielle has been a proud birth mother since placing her son for adoption in 2011. Her post-placement agreement has always been an open adoption. She loves the time she gets to spend with her son and his parents during visits. Lindsay truly believes that for herself and her family, adoption has been a blessing, and she enjoys writing about spiritual healing for birth mothers.

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