Adoptive parents in Arizona can choose between having an open adoption and a closed adoption. Each adoption type comes with its own pros and cons, and there is no “right” answer as to which type of adoption may be best for you.

By learning how each adoption type works, and considering both the short- and long-term effects of each, you’ll be able to make an adoption decision that best reflects your family’s values and goals.

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Open Adoption in Arizona

Though they aren’t as common as closed adoptions, open adoptions are becoming more popular options for adoptive parents.

Open adoptions allow the birth parents to remain in contact with the child and the adoptive family before, during and after the adoption process.

In Arizona, there is no standardized definition of an open adoption. The law does allow birth parents and adoptive parents to agree to a written, legally-binding contract the outlines how communication between the two families will work.

For this reason, legal counsel is often recommended for open adoptions. These types of adoptions are usually protected and enforced under the law of contracts, which means there can be legal complexities that are difficult to work around without a family attorney.

The advantages of an open adoption, if they are desired, include:

  • The adoptive parents will have more information about the birth parents, which can be helpful
  • The adoptive parents may be able to be more open with the child about his or her biological family
  • The child will be able to have contact with the birth parents later in life

The disadvantages of an open adoption include:

  • The adoptive parents and birth parents may want differing levels of communication
  • The child may not want any contact with the birth parents later in life

In an open adoption, the birth parents may receive phone calls, in-person visits, emails or letters from the adoptive parents. Because this area of adoption law is flexible, it’s important to set clear guidelines when moving forward with an open adoption.

Closed Adoption in Arizona

Most adoptions are closed adoptions, where the birth parents are not given any right to communicate with the child or the adoptive family. When the birth parents agree to a closed adoption, they relinquish any rights of communication.

Generally, closed adoptions also imply confidentiality, and adoptions done with a third party may withhold and seal information related to the birth parents and adoptive parents.

The advantages of a closed adoption include:

  • The adoptive parents are not required to allow communication with the birth parents
  • The adoptive parents may not worry about the potential intrusiveness of birth parents

Disadvantages of a closed adoption in Arizona include:

  • The child won’t be able to communicate with the birth parents if desired
  • The child may have questions about his biological family that the birth parents may not be able to answer

In both cases, the advantages and disadvantages of both types of adoption are subjective and dependent upon the wishes of the adoptive parents. Some adopting couples may want the openness of adoption, while others prefer to keep their adoptions confidential.

Do You Need Help Deciding on Adoption?

Prospective adoptive parents in Arizona have many considerations when deciding between open and closed adoptions. If you need help with your adoption decision, contact the family law team at JacksonWhite Law.

For years, we’ve helped adoptive families successfully navigate the adoption process. Our lead attorney Tim Durkin can answer your questions and explain your options during adoption.


Call the Family Law Team at (480) 467-4348 to discuss your case today.

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