Choosing adoption for your baby is a life-changing journey. Like most big things in life, it won’t always be easy. Ideally, any woman who chooses adoption will be surrounded by a support system that she can turn to in moments of crisis. However, we know this isn’t a reality for everyone.
There are many prospective birth mothers who believe that keeping adoption secret is the only way they can go through with the process. This can mean keeping it secret from her family and friends, as well as anonymous adoption in relation to the adoptive family and her child.
Is this the position you find yourself in? If so, we’re here to help. Secret adoption can be a confusing topic, and we’ve created this guide to help clear the air. Here, you’ll find all of the most important information you need about closed or confidential adoption, as well as some pros and cons to consider about the possibility of openness in your adoption.
What is a Confidential Adoption?
Closed or confidential adoption is a process where the identifying information of everyone involved is kept private. This means that, as a prospective birth mother, the adoptive parents will have very little information, if any, about who you are, and, in turn, your child will not have the opportunity to know you in the future through open adoption.
Adoption confidentiality can be good for anyone who wants a clean slate after the process is over, as well as anyone who fears that being identified would violate privacy. As we’ll see, there are also negative outcomes associated with closed or confidential adoption, as well as challenges with maintaining confidentiality long-term. However, any prospective birth mother who would like to keep adoption secret has the right to do so.
Keeping Adoption a Secret: Can Biological Parents Stay Anonymous in the Adoption Process?
Can you anonymously put a baby up for adoption? Yes, you can. If a prospective birth mother would like to keep adoption secret, she can do so.
Of course, some people will need to know your information — your adoption agency, medical professionals and adoption attorney. These are the professionals that provide the required services in order to complete an adoption. They will need to know who you are in order to do their jobs. The professionals you work with, who will never share your information without your permission, will always protect your privacy.
Outside of these professionals, it is up to you whether or not keeping adoption a secret is the right plan. This can mean keeping adoption a secret from your family and friends, as well as keeping your identity a secret from the adoptive family.
How does anonymous adoption work? As for the personal relationships in your life, this is totally up to you. Within the process, anonymous adoption agencies will do all that they can to ensure that your privacy is protected from the adoptive family and anyone else involved.
Ultimately, you decide how much of your identifying information (things like last name, contact information, and more) you would prefer to be shared when you create an adoption plan. If you would prefer a totally anonymous adoption, in which none of your identifying information is shared with the adoptive family, let your adoption professional know.
However, you could also choose to share some information and leave the door open for a connection to the adoptive family and your child after placement. This is the topic we’ll explore next, and it’s an important piece of the puzzle to consider if you are thinking about keeping adoption a secret.
Levels of Openness
You have choices when it comes to levels of openness. It’s not as simple as a fully open vs. totally anonymous adoption. Briefly, let’s look at the three levels of openness that any prospective birth mother can choose:
- Closed or Confidential Adoption: In a closed adoption, no identifying information is shared for anyone involved. This means that once placement occurs, the connection to your child and the adoptive family is totaled closed.
- Semi-Open Adoption: Within a semi-open adoption, identifying information is still not shared, but communication channels are opened to maintain a lasting connection. In many cases, an anonymous adoption agency can act as a medium to facilitate communication via letters, conference calls or other means.
- Open Adoption: Identifying information is shared in an open adoption, which means the adoptive family and prospective birth parents know who each other are and have the ability to reach out directly. Many open adoptions include regular in-person visits and other forms of consistent communication.
Within these three levels are hundreds of possible variations, all based on what will be best. Many prospective birth mothers plan on keeping adoption a secret, but find that some level of semi-open adoption actually gives them the best of both worlds: privacy and the chance to stay connected with their child.
If open adoption gives away too much of your privacy, it’s at least worth speaking with your adoption agency about semi-open adoption to learn more.
Is It Harmful to Keep Adoption a Secret?
What’s actually best for you? Ultimately, only you can know the answer to that. The benefits of secret adoption may be immediately obvious to you, which is probably why you are researching the topic. However, have you taken time to consider the benefits of open adoption, especially for the child?
Most adoptions today are at least semi-open, which has allowed researches to study the pros and cons of open adoption as it relates to the child. What they have found is an overwhelming consensus that open adoption benefits the adopted child. Not only that, but there are proven benefits to open adoption for the prospective birth parents and adoptive family.
While keeping adoption a secret may seem easier, it’s worth considering the many ways that a lasting connection can create advantages:
- Studies have found that semi-open adoption creates a more satisfying experience for prospective birth parents and adoptive family.
- Open and semi-open adoption can help prospective birth parents process the grief associated with adoption placement.
- Openness in adoption has proven to help adoptees form a positive self-identity thanks to a stronger connection to their biological heritage and better understanding of their own adoption story.
- Open communication allows an adopted child to ask all the questions they have about their adoption story and receive the answers they deserve.
- Adoption communication ensures that a child knows about their own adoption, which is vitally important to their growth and development.
As for the pros/cons of secret adoption when it comes to your family and friends, this is something you know better than anyone. Will telling your family about adoption invoke a negative response that makes you feel unsafe and discouraged? If so, we understand why keeping adoption a secret would be appealing.
You can always find support in your adoption agency and other professional services. If you can’t tell your family about adoption, it’s important to have someone to talk to when the process starts to feel overwhelming.
Adoption Confidentiality Laws
Adoption confidentiality laws differ from state to state. Generally speaking, the prospective birth parents can request confidential adoption records so that, in the case of a closed adoption, there is no way for them to be identified later on.
However, this is not always a foolproof plan. Some states do allow for adoptees to access confidential adoption records after a certain age. Allowing access to the original birth certificate to adult adoptees is actually becoming a trend in state adoption law. This, combined with modern innovations like DNA testing kits, social media and more can make maintaining your anonymity forever a challenge.
For the best chance of ensuring adoption confidentiality laws protect your privacy, speak to an adoption attorney in your state.
Anonymous Adoption Agencies
You have a lot of choices when it comes to picking an anonymous adoption agency. Many prospective birth parents choose to work with national adoption agencies because of their larger staff size, wider variety of adoptive family profiles and 24/7 availability.
The vast majority of these organizations are agencies that do a confidential adoption when it is what the prospective birth parent desires. If you’d like to research a few national adoption agencies, you could consider the following:
Contact Us Today
This is a lot of information to take. Do you feel confused or overwhelmed? That’s a totally understandable response. Sometimes, it can be helpful to speak with a professional about your specific situation. Contact us today if you’d like to be connected, free of charge, to a helpful adoption agency.