As a prospective birth mother in South Carolina, you will have the option of future contact with your child after you place them for adoption. You will also have the ability to determine exactly how much contact you wish to have with them — and in exactly what kind of manner
This post-placement relationship is known as open adoption, and it exists on a spectrum. Some women have extremely open adoptions with their children (including in-person visits), while other women choose to have completely closed adoptions, with no contact at all.
If you want something in between these two extremes, you will likely choose a semi-open adoption in South Carolina.
What is a Semi-Open Adoption?
Like with fully open adoption, there is no singular semi-open adoption “definition,” as the relationship within a semi-open adoption is always determined by the adoptive parents and the birth mother involved. No single semi-open adoption is the same, and it will be up to you as an expectant mother to decide what kind of semi-open adoption contact you are comfortable with.
In general, a semi-open adoption is any kind of adoption relationship that protects each party’s identifying information. The contact between adoptive parents and birth parents is mediated by an adoption professional before the baby is born, usually through conference calls or meetings. After the baby is born, the parties either continue their relationship through private, designated email addresses or other forms of non-identifying direct contact, or their contact can be mediated by their adoption professional.
Many of the prospective birth mothers that work with our adoption professionals desire some kind of semi-open adoption in South Carolina. If this is the case for you, we can help you create an adoption plan that addresses your post-placement contact preferences and desires.
How Does Semi-Open Adoption Work?
If you are interested in a semi-open adoption in South Carolina, there are a few steps that you will take to create the right post-placement relationship for you:
Step 1: Find an Adoptive Family with Semi-Open Adoption
When you choose to place your child for adoption in South Carolina, you will also be able to choose the family whom you wish to adopt your baby. Your adoption professional will discuss your preferences for an adoptive family — including your preferences for post-placement contact — and present the profiles of families who meet your desires. If you see a family you are interested in, you can have the option to meet them and talk with them more about your expectations regarding ongoing contact.
Step 2: Pre-Placement Contact
Your adoption professional will mediate a phone call or meeting between you and the adoptive family you are interested in. This will give you the chance to ask any questions you may have to make sure they are the right match for you and your baby. At the Law Offices of James Fletcher Thompson, our adoption counselors will take steps to ensure you and the adoptive family’s identifying information remains private during this contact.
Step 3: Interact at the Hospital.
As part of your semi-open adoption in South Carolina, you will decide what kind of contact you wish to share with the adoptive family when you give birth. This will be determined in your hospital birth plan. You can choose whether to invite the adoptive family into your room during or after the birth, and you can decide how much time you wish to spend with your baby alone. This decision will be completely up to you, and your adoption counselor can be there to counsel you through this time, as well.
Hospital officials will ensure your identifying information is protected during this time, as well. Your baby’s original birth certificate will not be revealed to the adoptive family.
Step 4: Start Post-Placement Contact.
After your baby is born, the adoptive family will continue to participate in semi-open adoption contact with you. If you have chosen mediated contact, they will likely send photos and letters to your adoption counselor, who will forward those to your personal address. They will do to same for any letters or photos you wish to send the adoptive family.
You may also find that a private email allows for more instant communication while still maintaining your privacy. It’s normal for semi-open adoptions to increase or decrease in contact as time goes on. You will always have the option to decrease contact as you desire, and your adoption counselor will work with you if you desire an increase in your semi-open adoption contact.
What are the Pros and Cons of Semi-Open Adoption?
As mentioned, one of the greatest advantages of semi-open adoption in South Carolina is the ability to stay in contact with your child and their adoptive family as they grow up — while still maintaining your privacy. Having an adoption professional mediate your contact can be reassuring, especially if you are worried about future contact continuing or have other concerns about post-placement contact. Knowing your adoption professional is there for you can make this contact a little easier.
Many prospective birth mothers believe a fully open adoption would be too much for them as they grieve the losses often associated with adoption, but a semi-open adoption allows them to be aware of their child’s upbringing and life without being personally involved in it.
When you choose a semi-open adoption, keep in mind that the contact between you and your child’s adoptive parents may not be instantaneous, especially if your contact is mediated. It takes time for letters and photos to be sent to an adoption professional, and more time for your professional to send those your way. If you have a question for the adoptive family, you may need to wait some time for the answer to be mediated by your professional.
Finally, some women who enter into a semi-open adoption find that the photos and letters they receive can make their grief and loss after placement more intense. While you can always have your adoption professional hold onto any photos or letters they receive until you are ready to view them, you may eventually decide that a fully closed adoption may be a better choice for you. Similarly, women who find themselves wanting more contact after originally choosing a semi-open adoption are usually able to increase contact if their child’s adoptive parents are comfortable doing so.
Not sure what kind of contact you desire in your adoption? Our adoption professionals can always explain the pros and cons of each process to help you determine which is best for you. Contact us today for free to learn more.