Types of Adoption

There are several different types of adoption including different degrees of openness as well as who you work with to assist in your adoption.

 Semi-Open Adoption

Most adoptions fall under this level of openness. The communication between the birthparents and the adoptive family is done through the agency. No identifying information (last names, addresses, phone numbers, etc.) is exchanged. The birthparents will receive pictures and updates on how the child is doing through the agency as well as the birthparents can forward letters, pictures, cards or gifts through the agency to the child and family. The birthparents can choose the family as well as meet the family if they would like. Any meetings or visits with the birthparents and the adoptive parents would be with the presence of the agency.

Open Adoption

Identifying information is exchanged, such as last names, locations of residence. This is always the case in independent adoptions, where the parties work through an attorney. In North Carolina, openness is only allowed in agency adoptions when both parties sign a specific state form in front of a notary during a meeting. Openness does not necessarily mean that a birthparent is a visible, ongoing presence in the life of an adopted child. Many birthparents desire openness so that they can be more easily found if the child desires to contact them in the future. The amount of contact (phone, face-to-face, email, letters, etc) between parties in an open adoption should be agreed upon before any legal documents are signed.

Closed Adoption

The birthmother does not choose the family and does not wish to receive pictures or an update on how the child is doing. There is no communication between the birthparents and the adoptive family as well as no information is exchanged between the two parties.

 Agency Adoption

This type of adoption occurs when an adoptive family uses a licensed adoption agency to receive an adoptive placement as well as the birthparents release legal custody to the agency. Physical custody is given to the prospective adoptive family, and legal custody is given at the time of finalization. Both birthparents and adoptive parents receive counseling and support services through the agency.

Independent Adoption

Placement through a facilitator or attorney, where legal custody is given directly to the adoptive parents; all are open adoptions. The attorney or facilitator will provide the legal documentation for the adoption. Typically the birthparents and adoptive parents only receive legal counseling and not supportive counseling.