What is Catholic Open Adoption?
Open adoption is a loving option for biological and adoptive Catholic families who want to keep the adopted children in touch with their birth parents. An open adoption allows birth parents to continue the connection that is formed during pregnancy. The type of connection is determined during the adoption proceedings. Some birth parents prefer to receive updates about the children through email or phone calls. Others may prefer to have personal visits. The birth parents decide what they prefer and seek adoptive parents who want the same.
1. What are Some Benefits to Open Adoption?
A child who is blessed with loving, adoptive parents is even more secure when he or she is allowed to get to know the birth mother. Knowing that the release of parental rights was from a place of love is a great relief to children. In addition, Catholic open adoptions allow birth mothers to see that their children are being raised in the Catholic faith. Other benefits to open adoption include the ability for children to learn about their biological heritage as well as any genetic medical conditions of importance.
2. Who Chooses the Adoptive Parents?
Birth parents decide what they find most important in raising a child. They may place being raised in a Catholic household first. They may want the family to have a strong emphasis on education. Some birth parents wish to find couples who share a similar background as the child. Others simply want to find parents who are loving and caring. Birth parents have the option to read through profiles, watch videos and closely study prospective parents. They may even ask to speak with them by phone or in person before choosing the perfect family for their child.
3. If the Birth Mother Has Chosen Us, Why Do We Need to Do a Home Study?
The home study serves multiple purposes. It helps to identify if adoptive parents are truly ready to face the wonderful, yet sometimes difficult, process of raising a new child. It also prepares the new parents for the adoption process. Many hopeful parents complete the home study well before they have been chosen by a birth parent so they can be ready when the time comes.
4. What is Involved in the Home Study?
Adoptive parents will undergo arduous screening to ensure they are ready and able to care for children. This includes background checks, character references, employment records and more. The family is interviewed in their home. They also undergo adoption workshops.
5. How Long Does the Home Study Take to Complete?
The process takes about two to three months.
6. Will Adopted Children Refer to Their Birth Parents as ‘Mom’ and ‘Dad’?
It is highly unlikely that an adopted child will think of their biological parents as their mother and father. They will refer to their birth parents by whatever names the families decide together to use.
7. What if the Birth Mother or Father Decides They Want to Reverse the Adoption?
Birth parents, especially those of newborns, may have the right to terminate the adoption. This occurs only on rare occasions. Each state has its own laws regarding when adoptions may be reversed. In most cases, this is within eight days or less of the birth of the child.
Open adoptions can also take place when children are older. Biological parents may find they are unable to care for their children, who are then placed with a loving, Catholic family. These adoptions, once completed, cannot be reversed in most states.