Lots of time and research has shown that open adoption is often healthiest for the child. However, there are exceptions to every rule, and open adoption is not always possible. Even when open adoption is possible, it does not come without its own set of challenges. Open adoption can be both rewarding and frustrating to all involved. While open adoption should be sought after if possible, it is important to know what challenges you might face and when open adoption simply would not be in the best interest of your child.

One of the disadvantages to open adoption is a lack of privacy or security. If a child was placed for adoption due to abuse or various security issues, open adoption can be difficult for all parties involved. If it is imperative that the child’s identity or whereabouts be protected, open adoption can be very difficult or impossible. In this case, both the adoptive and birth parents will need to decide what is best for their child and make a personal decision for themselves on what they feel might be the right choice.

Even if there are no security concerns, open adoption can generally have challenges that simply stem from being in a relationship with one another. Many blended families may understand this concept fairly well. It is difficult to feel the sense that you are having to “share” your child. While this is not actually reality, it is easy to worry or feel that way at times. A lot of this stems from pride and insecurity. For me, it was difficult at first to think of my children having two sets of parents. However, even if I wanted to be in denial about that fact, it does not change it. The relationship that my children have with their birth parents is completely different than the relationship they have with my husband and me. This is the reality of adoption.

In open adoption, when having to compromise and work together to make an open adoption succeed, there can be disagreements that arise. Life changes as your child grows older, which in turn will make open adoption change. The agreement that once worked, the visitation and communication, may need to change as your child changes and also expresses his or her own desires for openness. This is why it is crucial to have an agency that will offer support long after an adoption has been finalized. Having that intermediary to help mediate disagreements or come up with solutions will be everything. Keep the lines of communication open and honest. If the open adoption agreement previously decided upon is not working, be open to working together to try to find common ground.


Lita Jordan is a master of all things “home.” A work-from-home, stay-at-home, homeschooling mother of five. She has a BA in Youth Ministry from Spring Arbor University. She is married to the “other Michael Jordan” and lives on coffee and its unrealistic promises of productivity. Lita enjoys playing guitar and long trips to Target. Follow her on www.facebook.com/halfemptymom/.