Closed Adoption definition

Closed adoptions were the norm in America in the 20th century. Although they are far less popular now, they still exist.

Prospective birth and adoptive parents should be aware of the difference between open and closed adoptions as well as what having sealed birth records mean.

Keep reading to learn more about closed adoptions, their advantages and disadvantages, and how they affect your child’s birth certificate.

What Is Closed Adoption?

Closed adoption is a process by which an infant is adopted by another family and all information regarding the child’s birth and birth family is sealed. Often, the original birth certificate does not include the name of the father and in some states, the original document is not available to adoptees even as they reach adulthood.

In closed adoptions, it is nearly impossible for the adoptive parents and adoptee to contact the birth family, and for the general public to know the details of the adoption.

Closed adoption for older children who already have memories of their birth family is impossible.

The adoption is considered finalized once a judge has signed the adoption decree.

Closed adoptions are also called ‘confidential’ or ‘secret’ adoptions.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Closed Adoption

Closed adoptions are now far less popular than they were in the past. In fact, open adoptions are generally thought to be more beneficial for the physical and mental health of the adoptee as well as those of the birth and adoptive parents.

That is because open adoption records and regular contact with the birth family allow the adoptee to know more about their own identity, history, and medical information.

Having access to the original birth certificate and the opportunity to receive updates regarding the birth family’s medical history can even be lifesaving in some cases. Moreover, birth parents are not left wondering about the wellbeing of their child over the years.

However, closed adoptions became the norm around and after WWII because they are the most effective way to protect the privacy of everyone involved. Historically, people wanted to avoid the social stigma of giving birth outside of marriage, being born an illegitimate child, and infertility, and closed adoptions allowed them to do so.

Although nowadays social norms have changed, some birth and adoptive parents may still prefer the privacy of closed adoption. Moreover, no contact with the birth parents may be beneficial to the child in case of abuse or particularly difficult circumstances.