Open vs. Closed Adoption

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Open versus Closed Adoption As a nursing student, I have had the opportunity to speak with high school students about the issues of teen pregnancy and parenting. One student in particular confided that she was having trouble deciding whether she should put her unborn baby up for adoption. This conversation prompted me to investigate the legal and ethical issues facing parents who decide to give their child up for adoption. Primarily, I wanted to understand the options available to the birth parent, and also, to weigh these against the legal arrangements in the best interest of the child. An adoption takes place for several reasons, as a result of an unwanted pregnancy, lack of a proper home environment or numerous other reasons. Three main steps are taken when a child is adopted: the child must be legally separated from their birth parents; the child is transferred to the custody of a qualified adoption agency; and the final step involves the transfer of parents’ rights and responsibilities. Here a crucial decision must be made about open or closed adoption. With open adoption, the birth parents will have involvement in the raising of the child as well as communication with the adoptive family during the child’s life (Adoption, 2008). If a closed adoption is chosen, the birth parents lose all custody and visitation rights. In this situation both sets of parents remain anonymous to each other and any documents from either set of parents are kept private (Clinton, 1996). A choice of open versus closed adoption must be carefully considered. Nurses may care for parents facing such a dilemma, and should be knowledgeable about both open and closed adoption. While a nurse is not directly involved in the adoption process, he or she is a constant and trusted caregiver with frequent direct contact with patients needing help in
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