Open and Closed Adoption

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Open and Closed Adoption

Open And Closed Adoption | Raleigh, NC | Mills Adoption Law

Today, open adoptions are the most common type of adoptive relationship. In an open adoption in North Carolina, the child’s birth and adoptive parents share information. Open adoption allows a relationship to be formed between the birth parents, the adoptive parents, and the child. Like any other relationship, they mutually decide what it will be like.

There are two basic and distinct components to an open adoption – sharing identifying information (names and other personal information) and communication, either before or after placement. It is possible to have one and not the other, or to have both.

Communication In Open Adoptions.

Open adoptions can have varying degrees of contact. The amount and form of communication is determined by the parties. Some common ways that we often see adoptive families and birth families interact after an open adoption include:

  • Exchanging updates and pictures directly
  • Occasional visits
  • Staying in touch via social media

In most open adoptions, the adoptive parents will be present at the hospital for the child’s birth. The parties can then decide who will be in the delivery room, provide care for the baby, have access to the nursery, and name the baby. For many adoptive parents, being present for the child’s birth is a great way to start the process of developing lifelong memories.

Closed Adoptions In North Carolina.

In closed adoptions, the parties do not share identifying information. The mother does not receive a copy of the adoptive parents’ home study. The parties usually do not have an opportunity to communicate.

There are certain disadvantages to a closed adoption, such as:

  • Limited access to future health information.
  • Fewer placement opportunities. Most birth mothers prefer some level of communication.
  • Limited ability to answer a child’s questions about his or her family history.

A Third Option

If an open adoption makes you uncomfortable and a closed adoption seems too limiting, there’s a third option – a semi-open adoption. In North Carolina, a semi-open adoption is an adoption in which birth parents and adoptive parents may shar limited identifying information (first names only) and communicate through an intermediary, generally an adoption specialist.

Reaching a Mutual Understanding

As in all relationships, it is important to be honest about your intentions and expectations.

It is also important to have a clear understanding about when and how communications will occur after the adoption.

In North Carolina, understandings about future communications are just promises. They are not contracts. They are enforceable. If a party breaks their promise, a court cannot compel them to comply. You should not promise to do something that you do not intend to do. Intentionally misrepresenting your intentions could be fraud.

Failing to communicate clearly about when and how communications will occur after the adoption can lead to damaged relationships or worse.

Put Our Experience to Work for You.

Open, closed, and semi-open adoptions in North Carolina can be a lot easier with an experienced partner at your side. Bobby Mills has practiced adoption law in North Carolina for over 30 years. Call us today 919-533-4025 or fill out our contact form to schedule a consultation.

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Why Choose Mills Adoption Law?

  • Experience–Attorney Bobby Mills has over 35 years of experience representing birth parents, adoptive parents, and foster parents through all aspects of adoption and parental rights.
  • Adoption Specialist–Other firms include adoption and parental rights as part of their larger family law practice areas. At Mills Adoption Law, we focus exclusively on adoption, parental rights, and foster parent rights.
  • Board-Certified–Attorney Bobby Mills is a Fellow of the American Academy of Adoption & Assisted Reproductive Attorneys, certified by the board as a specialist in family law, and the former director of a child placement agency.
  • Agency Attorney–At Mills Adoption Law, we also represent child placement agencies and their clients.

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Why Should You Choose An Adoption Attorney?

Adoption is a wonderful option for expanding your family, but the laws governing the process are quite complex. Working with an attorney with significant experience in adoption law will help ensure that the adoption process goes smoothly.

An adoption attorney will:


We will provide an unbiased explanation of adoption procedures and develop a legally secure plan tailored to your needs.


We will assess the risks involved, including determining what payments are permissible and ensuring that birth parents are treated fairly and their rights are legally terminated before placement is finalized.


We will clarify your options, if any, for post-placement arrangements with birth parents, making sure your interests and those of the child are served.

Adopting Attorney | Adoption Law in North Carolina | 919-306-2899


We will explain your rights and adoption laws in your state or refer you to attorneys who practice in other states or internationally.


We will review and negotiate the adoption agency contract to protect your interests.

You Should...


You should contact an attorney as early as possible in the decision-making process.


Learn about the specific types of adoption services the attorney provides. Ask what percentage of the practice is dedicated to adoption and how many adoption proceedings the attorney has handled.


Choose an attorney who is experienced in the type of adoption you are considering.

Adopting A Child | Adoption Law in North Carolina | 919-306-2899


Know what the attorney charges, how fees are structured and that you can afford the services.


Ask questions, request references, share your concerns and provide the attorney with all relevant documents. Ask for a written retainer agreement that outlines what the attorney charges, how fees are structured and other details regarding fees and fee payment.

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