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"Closed" Adoption Families

closed adoption, no contact

This is my first time posting, anywhere, on any of the adoptive family forums.  I’ve pretty much kept to myself since we adopted, and have not reached out to any other adoptive families.  Everything I’ve read online seems so hostile towards closed adoption.  Has anybody else had the experience of a positive closed adoption? We started out verbally agreeing to certain extended family members (not the birth parents) getting some continued relationship with our son (how that would play out, we never nailed down exactly).  But no sooner had we adopted him, than the birth extended family became extremely demanding and they attempted to bully us into allowing the birth parents to have access to the kids (that was never part of the deal).  Both birth parents have substantial drug use issues and other mental health problems along with criminal histories, etc… nobody was for allowing them to see our son when we were in the process of adopting.  Suddenly they wanted us to allow some sort of visitation. We stopped contact, sought counseling and were surprised to find that the advice of professionals was to cease all further contact permanently for the sake of our son.  I struggled with this. A lot. I felt terrible about it, because he was 7 when we adopted him, plenty old to have a well developed relationship with the birth family.  But we followed the advice and were surprised to find that the more time that passed with no contact between our son and the birth family, the better adjusted and happier he became.  Now I’m convinced it was the right thing for us to do.  But there is virtually no support for cutting contact between the birth family and an adopted child.  Has nobody else had a positive experience (as in, you found it better for your child) to close the adoption or cease contact with the birth family?


The only comment I want to make right now is that the definition of “closed adoption” can differ from person to person so it is a good idea for anyone commenting to define their personal defintion of “closed adoption”.  Threads have gone south because people are talking at cross-purposes.

Posted by catherinenz on Feb 26, 2015 at 5:36am

If he is seven when adopted he is not in a completely closed adoption. He has memories, knows his birth name and many members of the family. He is on the spectrum of open adoption.
You are the parents and need to protect him from people who are substance abusers and do not have good boundaries. This can be reassessed as he gets older.
Was he in foster care? Was there a history of abuse/neglect/domestic violence? He may not feel safe right now depending on his history.
There are no absolutes in adoption. If he is doing fine and you keep discussing the issues with im at an age appropriate way he can be fine.
I placed children from foster care for years and many wanted no contact, some did have contact. It all depended on history.

Posted by Regina on Feb 26, 2015 at 1:42pm

We are in the process of adopting and it will be closed to future contact with the biological family after finalization due to their violent history.

We never plan on hiding the biological families identities, just not allowing physical contact.  This has been recommended and is required for her safety.

Every adoption is different and should be treated as such.  So I applaud you for doing what’s best for your family.  Children are resilient!  However, they are also easily confused if not careful.

Sometimes no physical contact is best for all involved, especially in Foster Care situations.  But I agree, it’s rare that the term “closed adoption” is supported nowadays.  Despite the fact that it really has changed from years ago and basically is on the spectrum of Open.

Congrats and best wishes for your family!

Posted by mumstheword on Feb 26, 2015 at 2:37pm

We have a closed adoption with our daughter (age 10, adopted through foster care at age 7). By closed I mean there is no contact between her and anyone in the birth family due to substance abuse. I have been in email communication with her bio mom (my daughter is not aware of this) and will consider contact later when my daughter is older IF her mother continues her path to recovery.

We have a current FD (age 10) whom we may adopt this year. If we adopt her, it would be what we consider a semi-open adoption. She will have continued visitation with grandmother but not parents.

We will handle each situation individually as it comes. Our priority is to protect our children, even when they want to remain in contact with their parents. We must do what’s best for them.

I have told both my children that we will help them reconnect with their parents and any other family members they wish to connect with when they are older and more capable of facing the new relationship with maturity that comes with age. The reason my husband and I decided to do this is because they both want to be with their bio families and we want to be there when they begin their own search. I’m not stupid, I know that my daughters will take the first opportunity they can to find them on Facebook or other internet social media. I want to be there for them so that they don’t do it behind my back. I want to support them….but only when they are old enough to deal with what they may find.

Posted by shininglight71 on Feb 26, 2015 at 3:44pm

There are people on here who are going to tell you you’re doing the wrong thing, but open isnt always the best option. You are the one in the best position to determine what is right for your child. As long as you are looking out for his best interests, you are doing the right thing.

Posted by rn4kidz on Feb 26, 2015 at 3:51pm

Thanks to everybody who responded. My son had been in foster care but was removed for private adoption.  He has never asked about his birth parents and on the few times I have brought them up he gets angry and says he never wants to see them again.  My quandary was with the rest of the birth family (the extended relatives) who I was strongly advised by every mental health professional we engaged, to never speak to again nor let my son have any sort of contact with even by mail. It was explained to me that they have a very sick family dynamic and that by allowing contact I’d be essentially subjecting my son to a continuation of that.  Also it upset him.  He asked a few times about seeing his grandparents but doesn’t really seem upset to not be seeing or speaking with them.  Meanwhile they keep calling and emailing asking for contact. But like I said, I noticed that the more time that passes where he hasn’t had contact with them, the better adjusted he seems. So as difficult a decision as it was, I think it was the better choice.  Like I said, though, there seems to be no support in online forums or articles on adoption, for cutting contact entirely with a birth family in this type of situation, except for the professionals we personally consulted with.

Posted by adoptive mommy on Feb 26, 2015 at 4:07pm

Comming from an adoptee who was raised in a closed case adoption I did better with it being closed than if I would have been raised in an open adoption. I am grateful for my birth mother who I later on in life have met and she and I are friends. I am also grateful for my parents.

Posted by ProtectedAdoptedandBlessed on Mar 07, 2015 at 1:17am

You’ll come across a lot of hostility towards closed adoptions. What many people don’t realize is that the closed adoptions when adopting through foste care are to protect the safety of the child. Kids don’t end up in foster care because they have good bio parents. Whether it’s abuse, mental disorder, or substance abuse, kids are removed from the care of their bios because they are not good situations for the welfare of the child. By the sounds of your case, I think it’s best to cease contact with ALL family members and friends that are associated with his “past life.” Your son clearly doesn’t want to see his bios for whatever reason. Allowing others to contact him will just drudge up ba memories. He seems happy with you and doesn’t want to deal with the past. If they call, change your number. It’s free to change numbers. Hopefully they don’t know where you live and start popping up. You know who his bio relatives are, if in the future when he is older, and wants to contact him, give him the names and numbers. But he doesn’t seem to want that now or anytime soon. He’s YOUR son now. You need to protect him.

Posted by SemperFiFam on Apr 02, 2015 at 12:47pm

I’m very happy to have read this - just this week we have suspended the little bit of access that our son’s birth mom’s parents had.  He was in foster care, we got him at 3 months old and he’s now almost 2.  His birth parents are both in jail for dealing drugs and gang activity, and less than a month ago his birth mom’s brother, was caught molesting his 4 month old baby girl. 

The grandparents hid this information from us, and only through other people did we find out (we’d asked them how their son and new baby were doing and they’d told us “fine”, when he was already in jail).  The fact that they are willing to gloss over something so horrifying was horrifying itself and I can’t possibly expose our son to an environment that is so messed up.

I haven’t heard from them since I pulled the plug on visits, but told them that I’m not ‘punishing’ them for what their son did, but I can’t even get my head around how THEY are reacting to it.

It is unbelievable what some people think is “ok”, and it’s our job as foster-to-adoptive parents to continue to protect our children from what they were removed from.

Posted by RepeatedHistory on Nov 19, 2015 at 5:57pm

“Our priority is to protect our children, even when they want to remain in contact with their parents. We must do what’s best for them.”

Why isn’t doing what is bet for them the same as allowing them what they want and need?

Addiction is a DISEASE. Would you prevent “your” children - who are not yours, by the way - to see their parents if they has MS or diabetes?

Why isn’t doing what is best for these children allowing them to know their TRUTH? Let them see what addiction can do to a persons’s life to help them avoid the same temptations that they have a genetic predisposition to?

You are not protecting them. You are protecting yourself and playing God with their lives. Their family is their family. A seven year-old had a developed relationship with his or her mother and memories. You are DEPRIVING them, not protecting them.

I hope your will reconsider your thinking an desicions in this regard and really do what is in these children’s best interest.

Posted by AdoptAuthor on Oct 06, 2018 at 2:31pm

Why isn’t doing what is bet for them the same as allowing them what they want and need?
because he is 7 and doesn’t have the ability to decide what is best always besides he said he didn’t want to see them.

Addiction is a disease unfortunately the behavior of people with the disease can make trouble. Like scheduling visits and never showing up, like showing up high, like stealing form family, like bringing around dangerous friends,  like making irrational statements like I am getting you back. If they are clean and sober for a year maybe a new plan could be reinstated.

I hope his adoption goes well and I am sure the safety, desirability of openness will be adjusted according to future needs

Posted by Regina on Oct 08, 2018 at 1:44pm

I had a child and it was supposed to be a closed adoption, I had other children later in life and never told them about the child. The child found me and I felt guilty over it and he wanted to meet my other children I had to tell them about the hole story. This was 18 years ago, and my children that I raised still have feelings of me hurting them for not telling them sooner. I would love to know who changed the rules of a closed adoption being any else but

Posted by Starr on Jan 11, 2019 at 11:45pm

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