Open Adoption


Open adoptions are the norm in adoption law for some Provinces in Canada. Although openness in adoption is often seen as a step closer to respecting mothers and their children, there are many flaws in what defines "open" or "openness" in adoption and how it is used. The result can be detrimental to mothers in crisis situations, leading to the unnecessary loss of their children to adoption and/or finding they have entered into adoption arrangements that barely resembles what they had anticipated.

The drawback to these laws is that the natural mother is not protected. The contact agreement reached between the prospective adoptive parents and the mother is not legally binding. It can therefore be used as a means to exploit or coerce a mother into adoption by creating the illusion she is entering an open adoption. The adoption can be closed at anytime without her involvement or consent, leaving her without access for 18+ years.

In negotiating the terms of adoption between prospective adoptive parents and the mother there is a vast power imbalance. The mother is dependent and in a vulnerable position by the very fact of her pregnancy. She may also be vulnerable due to factors of

  • her age
  • financial status
  • support or nonsupport from the father of her baby
  • support or nonsupport from her family
  • availability, or even knowledge of, social resources that support mother and child
  • lack of life experience as a mother
  • availability of information on, or knowledge of, the lifelong negative ramifications of adoption for herself and her baby.
The law should represent the mother and enforce the protection of her rights, which are in the best interests of both mother and child in the openness negotiated in the adoption.

© The Canadian Council of Natural


Canadian Council of Natural Mothers

Policy for Ethical and Legal Protection of Mother and Child

"What you should know if you're considering adoption for your baby"... Heather Lowe

The Wall

A Mother's Song
Keeping my baby vs. Giving up my baby