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Is a Closed Adoption Possible?

post #1 of 100
Thread Starter 
Hey everyone!

I'm mostly a lurker on the boards but I do post occasionally in the "Queer Parenting" boards every now and then.

I tried IUI four times and needless to say, it didn't work out for me. I'm considering domestic infant adoption because its the only option for me since I'm single, gay and I want a baby thats healthy as possible.

Okay, now for my question! lol How common are closed adoptions and is the wait significantly longer? (I don't want to meet the birth parent, talk on the phone or send letters to her)? I'm open to any gender and I'm open to a biracial child.
post #2 of 100
Is it possible? Yes. Is it a good thing for anyone involved? NO.
post #3 of 100
Absolutely possible, but pricey. You will need to find a lawyer who understands your boundaries and can be trusted to enforce them, and you will need to pay a lot of money for his/her time, not to mention the money he will be passing on to the expectant mother, which is probably also going to be a higher-than-customary amount. One of the reasons pregnant women go through lawyers instead of agencies is to get compensation above and beyond what an agency's policies would allow for maternal expenses. Another reason is that they'd like to see their children raised with every material advantage, and figure that rich people are the ones who can afford these lawyers!

Remember that closed adoption won't make a legal difference - if the mother changes her mind within the legal window, the lawyer would be obliged to reveal your identity and she could take the baby away from you. But if you are just thinking of avoiding ongoing contact during childhood, closed adoption would achieve that.

In your shoes, I'd insist on obtaining the names and current cities of residence for both bioparents so that I could give that info to my child when they turned 18, or use it myself if an extreme medical issue came up where biofamily history might influence the course of treatment.

I have heard that some lawyers prepare expectant mother dossiers, with pictures etc., and show them to their pool of potential adoptive families with the woman's knowledge and consent, and vice versa, all without including last names, addresses or other identifying details. That might also be something you are interested in.

I can only IMAGINE what kind of $$$ this process requires, though. Way more than most people have.

I'm very sorry IUI didn't work out, it sounds like that would have been a great fit for your circumstances.
post #4 of 100
Our baby's birthmom wanted a closed adoption. Or so she thought. We told her that was okay, but to contact us if she wanted to. She sent us more medical info at 3 months and at 6 months she asked for a visit. She came another time after that and for a first birthday party. I have a photo of her looking at our daughter with such love and pride. My baby will be able to look at that photo and know her birthmom loved her. I would never take that away from her.

Closed adoption does not help the baby. It only provides the adoptive parents with a fantasy that they are the only parents--which they aren't. In today's world of open adoption I think it gives adoptees reason to resent their adoptive parents. They are closing off access to their past and to people who are genetically related.

Have you grieved not having a biological baby? Adoption is not like birthing without birthing. The needs of the child must be considered. Only go forth with adoption if you are able to meet those needs.
post #5 of 100
I know nothing about private adoption.

It sounds like you are just starting to explore adoption- I would suggest you gather as much information as you can about adoption. I bet you will change your mind about a closed adoption
post #6 of 100
I'd really explore why you feel you want a closed adoption. When we first started researching adoption, I was very afraid of having involvement with birthfamily. After going to a few adoption education seminars with our agency (usually required as part of adopting, fortunately) my mind was opened, and I no longer have that fear at all. Birthmothers are just regular people, with whom you can develop a wonderful relationship that can be as close or as casual as you both want it to be. If you were to adopt privately, the mother would obviously be fine with you being a lesbian or she wouldn't have chosen you to parent her child. If you're worried that it will be confusing for the child, it truly isn't -- it's much more confusing for a child to not know why they were "given away" and to NOT have any connection to their history. They will invent all kinds of scenarios that will either involve them not being good enough or their birthparent being this truly wonderful mother who would never get mad at them and would give them everything they want, etc. honesty and openness are ALWAYS best in adoption. age appropriate discussions of why the child was placed for adoption are so important FOR THE CHILD, and while you don't have to have their first mother over for dinner every week or anything, it's so nice to at least have email or phone or letter contact so the child can have their questions answered. because they will have questions!

As a single woman with no kids yet, I'd look seriously into the foster/adopt program through your state.

best wishes with your family building!!
post #7 of 100
Originally Posted by SundayCrepes View Post
Closed adoption does not help the baby. It only provides the adoptive parents with a fantasy that they are the only parents--which they aren't. In today's world of open adoption I think it gives adoptees reason to resent their adoptive parents. They are closing off access to their past and to people who are genetically related.

Have you grieved not having a biological baby? Adoption is not like birthing without birthing. The needs of the child must be considered. Only go forth with adoption if you are able to meet those needs.
This. Very well put.

In the past most domestic adoptions were closed. People realized it wasn't the healthiest thing for anyone in the adoption triad, particularly the child who needed that connection with the past.

More and more adoptions are open now and I see that as a good thing. There are cases where contact is dangerous and of course that's not a good scenario. But in cases like ours it has turned out to be wonderful!

To answer your question: Yes. You can still get a closed adoption. They do still exist. But I would take a good, hard look at your reasoning for wanting one.
post #8 of 100
I'm with the others. Is it possible? Yes. Will it be the best thing for your child? In rare, unique circumstances, yes...but with a private newborn adoption, those types of circumstances are highly unlikely anyway.

I agree that it's time to really examine your motivations for a closed adoption.

My wife and I also thought we wanted a mostly closed adoption when we started the journey. We initially felt fairly firmly planted in the realm of a semi-open adoption (letters, or *maybe* limited contact with a grandparent or something). The more I researched open adoption, and particularly the more I read the writings of adults who were adopted during their childhoods in the era of closed adoptions as the norm...the more my mind and heart opened.

We now have an open adoption (ds, who we have had since his birth and who is now four), and an adoption we had really hoped would be open but is actually closed (dd, who we have had since she was 6 months and who is now three). I get to see how it works out for both my kids, and frankly, the way it has worked out so far has made me an even bigger supporter of open adoption.

I highly, highly, *highly* recommend grief counseling for any parent who is starting the adoption journey after unsucessful attempts at pregnancy (even if adoption had always been in the cards, but as an "after I get pregnant once" kind of thing).

There are some truths that those of us who are adoptive parents have to wrestle with and eventually accept. These include:

1. Even if we adopt them as newborns, our children have lives and relationships and a history from before us, of which we will never be a part.

2. Related to the above, our children have more parents than just us. Yes, those other parents have an entirely different relationship with our children (aka a non-parenting relationship), but we can't change the reality by keeping our children and their first parents from each other. This is something you can either wrestle with and begin facing and coming to peace with now, or have it jump up and bite you in say, 18 years give or take.

3. We have an extraordinary amount of power as an adoptive parent. Truly. It is hard to see that when you are dependent on someone else in order to have a child. But this moment in time is so brief once your child is in arms and you are looking back. Over our children's lifetime, as adoptive parents, we each hold an extraordinary amount of power. The decisions we make and our attitudes will be completely lifechanging for at least two other folks, not just in a single moment in time but forever. Many, many "birthparents" think they want closed adoptions but later realize (sometimes well after the birth) how problematic that is. You *could* take advantage of the emotional place a birthparent is in prior to placement, but you *would* be taking advantage...for, in all likelihood, your own gain only.

4. When we begin to make decisions for our children, it is time to begin to start thinking like a parent. When we plan an adoption, we make decisions for our child. At that moment, the option of putting what feels best for us-- as the adoptive parents-- first, before the needs of our children, goes out the window. Our children won't be babies forever. Our children will grow into a set of needs in which open adoption will in all likelihood be tremendously helpful. You can convince yourself that closed adoption is better for everyone, not just you...especially because during pregnancy many "birthparents" are likely to feel like it will be too. But having seen what people have written here, you'll know better, and your baby deserves better than that kind of parent self-deception. If you originally set out in a closed-adoption scenario, but express some flexibility should the birthparents change their mind about keeping things closed, you open up a world of positive potential not just for your baby and the birthparent, but also for yourself. I, for one, have loved and enjoyed our family relationships with our son's first parents very much.

5. The adoption journey, which is really a lifetime's journey, transforms us. Whatever you think you know to be true now will be different from what you know to be true in a year, in five years, in ten years. This is not the time-- at the outset-- to start cutting out possibilities.

I say all this with love and realizing that this is all stuff that is difficult to hear. Everyone here could have just answered your question. Yes, it is possible. But from your introduction and from the fact that you asked this question, it is clear you are pretty new to the world of adoption, and that this is probably not how you expected to be bringing a baby into your family. So we are each, in our own ways, trying to answer the question that you can't possibly realize yet that you can't answer while standing in your shoes as a newcomer to this world...which is, "is it right to have a closed adoption?"

I hope you find that the helpful gift that it is intended.

By the way, I am not single (though I know a number of parents who took the same route as me and are), and I am not gay, but I am married to another woman (same-sex marriage), and I have two amazing children adopted through foster care. I wish you could meet my children. Parenting them is nothing to dread .
post #9 of 100
OP, I hesitated to mention this before, but since Sierra has brought it up I'll second it - adopting through the state truly might be a good option for you. I live in a VERY conservative state, and there were several single women at my adoption orientation and the social workers were quite clear that they frequently placed infants with single women and had no issue doing do. And an adoption through the state is very likely to be "closed" in the sense you're probably thinking of, although, again as Sierra points out, it doesn't HAVE to be that way if you find yourself open to contact with non-abusive members of the biofamily at some point. The example the social worker gave our class was pictures sent to aunts and cousins who did not want to parent the infant, but were not involved in the abusive situation and loved the infant just as they would love any child born into their extended family... the worker thought that this was a very good thing for the adopted child in the long term.
post #10 of 100
Honestly, I would look at other sperm options first. I am very fertile and I had 4 failed IUI's from one sample of sperm (it was a surrogacy, but still, I knew I wasn't getting pg and that was all that mattered). I would look at those options before adoption and I would not consider closed adoption.
post #11 of 100
As a birthmother in a VERY (read: atypically) open adoption, I would encourage you to explore the spectrum and depth of open adoption. Our situation works well for all of us, but birthgirl has a younger sister also adopted through an open adoption, and the circumstances are different and much more challenging, and their mom does have some regrets about the lack of boundaries regarding the younger child and her birthfamily.

Open adoption doesn't mean opening your life and home to the birthmother unless that's what you'd like. It can run from simply having a good medical history and knowledge of the birthparents and communicating solely through the agency to having the birthmother live in your guest house.

There is absolutely a spectrum, and open adoptions can be arranged to suit everyone, especially the child.

Good luck in whatever you choose.
post #12 of 100
Originally Posted by ErinYay View Post
and their mom does have some regrets about the lack of boundaries regarding the younger child and her birthfamily.
Most open adoptions, it seems to me, are dynamic and changing through the life of the relationship.

I've seen them become more open over time in many situations, and more rarely, more closed over time in other situations (though I think it is very important that adoptive parents are honest and upfront and don't make promises they don't intend to keep, occassionally I've seen folks renegotiate relationships that are problematic). I have occassionally set limits with the birthparents of my son. I just try to be aware that I hold all the power right now, as the adoptive parent, and I try to not use my power unjustly.

I think it is good to be aware that an open adoption doesn't lock folks into an specific arrangement for life...except where a legally binding agreement is made (most states don't have these). It is a commitment to relationship, and you can go in cautiously if desired, but interested, and see where that takes you.

With my son, because we *were* signing a legally binding open adoption agreement, and because our son's birthparents weren't supportive of the adoption (foster-adopt), we went in very cautiously, stating that we would send one letter and photo each year. In practice, we've always been open to more, and over time we've become more flexible and open.
post #13 of 100
For the OP, I'm not going to try to change your mind re openness. Open adoption is not for everyone, and because each adoption/situation is unique, it may not be best for every adopted child either. There are multiple degrees of semi-open adoption though, and if some of them work for your comfort level, you may find yourself with more potential birthparent matches. Strictly speaking, a truly closed adoption would have no contact before the birth, no contact at the hospital, and no contact after placement, with no identifying information exchanged. If you are open to perhaps meeting the birthmom prior to the birth or perhaps meeting her at the hospital, you may find a match more quickly.

A completely closed adoption is doable, and it doesn't necessarily have to be expensive. Some birthparents truly do not want any contact after placement. Or they want very limited contact that can be routed through the agency or attorney with everyone's addresses kept confidential.

Good luck with your adoption!
post #14 of 100
I agree with the general sentiments above, and have one more question of the OP. By closed adoption, did you also mean that you wouldn't tell the child he/she is adopted? Until the last couple decades,, parents usually tried to pretend the baby was biological - to friends, neighbors, and family. Even the children themselves. Rarely can lying be a good plan, and I'd say never in this situation.

It is important that you come to terms with the fertility issues before bringing a baby into your life. There are books written, and therapy available. This is not a problem a baby should be called upon to solve.

Sorry to be so blunt. But the tone of the OP was a bit scary to me.
post #15 of 100
Thread Starter 
phorogger: I did use two different donors when I first started and using I used clomid and injectibles but that didn't work for me. I have PCOS and my FSH is somewhat high (between 13-15 in each cycle I believe). I also had a misscarriage. My RE thinks that my chances of IUI working are slim and I should consider IVF. I'm reluctant to try IVF because its expensive (three cycles would cost me about 21K at my clinic) and I'm not promised a baby when its all said and done. I have already spent about 8K for IUI so I don't have much money leftover.

Smithie and Sierra: I looked into adopting from foster care and I even attended an orientation a few months ago. The social worker told me that healthy infants in our state are extremely rare and most of the healthy children are about anges 4 and up. I want to parent a newborn and experience having a baby in the house. I understand that I'm not promised a healthy biological child but I would try everything I could to make sure they were born healthy and I don't think I could handle a child with health issues or a disability.

Everyone: Thank you for all your replies! I called the adoption agency that I'm interested and told her nearly the same thing I posted and she had similar answers to what everyone here said. I'm going to meet with her later this week but it looks like I will have to bite the bullet and do IVF...
post #16 of 100
In your shoes, that (IVF) is probably what I'd do. But maybe the agency worker will ponder your situation for a few days and realize that you ARE, in fact, a good match for a certain type of emom, and the meeting with her will be more productive that you're expecting!

I'm sorry the public adoption route does not look promising in your state.
post #17 of 100
Originally Posted by Deker View Post
I understand that I'm not promised a healthy biological child but I would try everything I could to make sure they were born healthy and I don't think I could handle a child with health issues or a disability.
I just wanted to gently remind you that any child could end up very disabled or with many health issues, or just be difficult to parent. My first son (biological) was colicky as a newborn (cried ALL. THE. TIME!!!) and he later had extensive allergies, failure to thrive, an extremely restrictive special diet which required me to hand prepare ALL of his food (imagine NEVER being able to use convenience food or stop for fast food!) and he is on the autism spectrum. I didn't think I was signing up for any of that-- but I did, because I chose to become a parent. Just something to think about. Good luck on your journey!!!
post #18 of 100
Deker, before you make any decision regarding either adoption or IVF, you deserve some time in therapy- perhaps specifically grief counseling (especially if you are already in therapy more generally). Struggling to get pregnant is tough shit. Really tough. Having to make decisions like this, where it feels like being between a rock and a hard place, is something I wouldn't wish on anyone. Many of us have been down this road. You are not as alone as it feels.

As for fostering and adoption, I'm not going to try to "sell" you on it. As with all paths, it has its advantages and disadvantages. I would ask, though, if when the social worker said there weren't many healthy babies, if she meant in straight adoption from the state, or in fostering leading to adoption. Also, "healthy" is a relative term. I am almost embarrased to admit, given how far I've come and the places I've traversed, that I too once felt I couldn't "handle" a child with disabilities or one who wasn't healthy. I had no idea... there was so much I didn't know back then, especially about myself.

In any case, my son's birthparents both have profound developmental delays, and his birthmother has multiple diagnosis. But he was not exposed inutero to any substances, except for his birthmother's cig smoking. He had some health issues in his first year (asthma, etc), but he is now a healthy kid and has outgrown everything from the asthma to his food allergies. He has minor developmental delays, but many people don't even notice other than his speech being a little less clear than some four year olds. However, he is super, super smart in his own way and is such a loving, snuggly, fun kid to parent. He has a great sense of humor, and he is curious and interested in learning. I have no reason to believe his future won't be bright, even with his so-called "special needs." As I mentioned, he has been with us since birth (and we finalized his adoption at 13 months).

My daughter came to us at six months and had been bounced around a LOT in those six months. She may have been exposed inutero to alcohol and drugs, though I am sorry to say that we were mislead to believe this was not the case when she was first placed with us. She is *extremely* healthy. Almost never gets sick even when everyone else in the family is miserably sick. We have dealt with some attachment trauma stuff, but she did not have a full blown "attachment disorder," she was *extremely* responsive to therapy to deal with the trauma and promote bonding, and she is now well bonded and doing marvelously. She may have some visual processing issues (she tends to be the kind of kid you'd call "clumsy"), but so far she "aces" the vision tests. She is on the hyper side, it is true, and we do deal with some minor behavioral issues that we think might have a relationship to inutero exposure to substances, but I have every reason to be hopeful for her future, and this is not a kid you'd label "disabled" in any way shape or form. I haven't met a person who has met my daughter and not wanted to take her home with them. Seriously. Everyone wishes they could be her parents. She is sweet, resiliant as heck, determined, soooo super happy/cheerful, friendly, and *incredibly* smart. She is three and a half years old, has started reading, is fairly fluent in sign language as a second language, can do very basic addition in her head, plays soccer (to the extent a three year old can), skateboards, and is starting to write. One day at her aunt's house, she asked if she could try on her rollerblades, stood up in them and literally was rollerblading around the house (in gigantic adult rollerblades) within minutes. A few hours later I was in the kitchen, and she came in-- still wearing the rollerblades-- and was like, "look mama, I can jump" and she jumped IN the rollerblades.

We finalized her adoption this year. I mean it when I say I wish you could meet my kids. I think meeting them would really call to question this whole erroneous idea of "healthy" vs. "unhealthy" kids.

I am not saying parenting kids with disabilities is easy. And a lot of it is luck of the draw. But if I had gone along with my original belief that I wasn't cut out for anything but the healthiest of child, I would have missed out on the privilege of being mommy to the two coolest kids on the planet ...not to mention that I would have set myself up for a serious crisis had my kids not turned out to be who I expected.

By the way, if you want a "dream baby" to fulfill your fantasy of motherhood from childhood, you are probably in for a shock no matter what baby you get. Now I have to sign off, as I must go attend to the child who won't go to sleep tonight (long day) and who is currently calling into serious question my fantasy that I have some deep well of loving patience within me.
post #19 of 100
Hi - I adopted internationally as a "single" although I am a partnered lesbian. International adoption is, de facto, closed (at least in the countries I know about.) That's not why we chose that route, by the way, but it is a reason that some do.

However, it became quite clear that our daughter needed to know as much as possible about her birth family. We went through quite a bit of extra expense to hire a searcher and locate her birth mother and family, and we now have an open relationship. It has been completely beneficial to my daughter in every way, and we are planning a trip back in the next year. Not all adopted kids are the same, of course, but I do think when possible, it is important for children to know their roots. Maybe it was easier for me because I already wasn't her "only" mother, but I just don't see a downside to this for our family. It makes our family more complicated, especially because of issues of culture, poverty, etc. but also more rich. And my daughter feels settled and complete in a way that wasn't possible for her before. I only wish that her birth mother could be more a part of our lives rather than a couple of thousand miles away - I truly mean that. This isn't about me and my needs - it's about my daughter.

I wish you the best in your decision. Adoption is not for everyone, but if you are thinking about it, I would encourage you to get to know some adoptive families in real life and talk with them about their experiences.
post #20 of 100
As a parent and wanting what's best for my child, not sure that entirely closed would be the best. If minds were changed further down the road, I don't want to =be the one who was responsible for the closed adoption.

But I can see why a birthmom might want it to be closed & forgotten (not that it's good, but just sayin'), like in case of rape or incest. Where you just want to Let.It.Go and be done with it.

Again, not saying one is better, just that empathetically I can see where someone might be coming from.

We'll be going open, I hope, when the time comes. My DH originally had similar ideas regarding close adoptions. Closed equaled more "safe." But I just don't see it as that.

And anything *is* possible, just have to be prepared to find the right person/situation that agrees with you
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