Open Adoption

St. Elizabeth specializes in open adoption in Louisiana. The birth mother is able to choose the adoptive parents, meet with them openly at the agency, choose how she wants the hospital plan to go, and whether she’ll remain in touch after the birth. Some birth mothers choose a more closed adoption, and we respect their wishes as well.

quotes from board members

Dick-Lea

How is the decision made between open and closed adoption?

Every adoption is different. It’s not one shoe fits all. It is a decision that is made between a licensed clinical social worker, the birth mother, and the adoptive parents. They agree to that prior to making a commitment. Some young women prefer to surrender the baby and move on with their life. Other young women want to make sure the baby is being cared for as she expected it to be.

How is the decision made between open and closed adoption?

Every adoption is different. It’s not one shoe fits all. It is a decision that is made between a licensed clinical social worker, the birth mother, and the adoptive parents. They agree to that prior to making a commitment. Some young women prefer to surrender the baby and move on with their life. Other young women want to make sure the baby is being cared for as she expected it to be.

Dick Lea

Board Member

quotes from adoptive parents

Terri-Leblanc

Talk about your experience with open and closed adoptions

When we first came to St. Elizabeth, we applied. And we went through the process and getting to know everyone here and getting on the list. And at the time, really, open adoption wasn’t the trend that it is now. We did have, and do have, wonderful non-identifying information that we have used from time to time to answer medical questions.

Four years later, when my daughter came along, that was different. It was an open adoption. That meant we got to meet the birth parents, which was great. I can’t really say that one was better than the other one. But getting to meet, and I think really more importantly, it’s wonderful for the birth parents to meet us and put a face and a name. This was a way for the birth mother to see us, get to know us a little bit. And just rest that, you know, it was her decision. It was her decision that after meeting us, she thought we were the right family to adopt her biological child. So that was a semi-open. I know adoptions vary today from closed, semi-open and then, you know, more openness. And the beauty of it is that the birth parents get to decide.

When did you start thinking about adoption?

After years of infertility, three in vitro fertilizations, several miscarriages, my husband and I thought maybe we would look into the adoption option. My only regret with that is I didn’t do it sooner. But you have to go through all the emotions of wanting your own child. When we finally came to the idea that we would look into adoption, to me, it was just a reminder that God is in control. His answer for you is always better than what you think it should’ve been. I was devastated for not being able to get pregnant and have my own child.

But then I laid eyes on my son. All that just went out the window, because it was no longer important. What was important was that I was a mother. And so that was my journey from going from just sheer devastation to just exhilaration and the whole beauty of being a parent. It really doesn’t matter how you get there. It’s just that you’re there.

You know, birth is a miracle, but adoption is also a miracle. I look at my two children. And I look at them, and of all the places they could be, that’s the miracle that they’re with us.

Terri Leblanc

Board Member

laurie

As a parent who’s had a more open adoption, what insights can you share?

My words of advice to anybody considering adoption, especially open adoption...I know we had our doubts. We had spoken to other people who had done open adoption and learned how they were handling things based on their relationship with the birth mother or birth parents. We definitely went into it thinking we might not be as open as we did end up being, more because there’s that fear of just not knowing how the dynamic would work. But anybody thinking about open adoption, I would tell them come and talk to St. Elizabeth’s about it. Talk to them about the different dynamics that they’ve seen between families. Keep an open mind because you just don’t know until you meet those people and kind of start to form that relationship. But I would tell anybody, come and pursue it. Don’t hesitate because of a fear of not knowing how it’s going to work out.

I would say it’s a leap of faith. And it’s not easy. But it’s so worth it in the end.

Don’t hold back from experiencing the entire experience and trying to get close to and know the birth parents that have selected you. For them, it’s a comfort to always know that you are still interested. You want to put that effort there to try to start that relationship before the baby’s even here. Even if there’s an agreement that you won’t keep in touch afterwards for whichever side, it’s still important to get to know that person. And you can then share what you know about them with your child, even if you don’t keep that contact. But yeah, I would tell anybody to come and talk to St. Elizabeth’s because they really are a fantastic group.

As a parent who’s had a more open adoption, what insights can you share?

My words of advice to anybody considering adoption, especially open adoption...I know we had our doubts. We had spoken to other people who had done open adoption and learned how they were handling things based on their relationship with the birth mother or birth parents. We definitely went into it thinking we might not be as open as we did end up being, more because there’s that fear of just not knowing how the dynamic would work. But anybody thinking about open adoption, I would tell them come and talk to St. Elizabeth’s about it. Talk to them about the different dynamics that they’ve seen between families. Keep an open mind because you just don’t know until you meet those people and kind of start to form that relationship. But I would tell anybody, come and pursue it. Don’t hesitate because of a fear of not knowing how it’s going to work out.

I would say it’s a leap of faith. And it’s not easy. But it’s so worth it in the end.

Don’t hold back from experiencing the entire experience and trying to get close to and know the birth parents that have selected you. For them, it’s a comfort to always know that you are still interested. You want to put that effort there to try to start that relationship before the baby’s even here. Even if there’s an agreement that you won’t keep in touch afterwards for whichever side, it’s still important to get to know that person. And you can then share what you know about them with your child, even if you don’t keep that contact. But yeah, I would tell anybody to come and talk to St. Elizabeth’s because they really are a fantastic group.

Laurie

Adoptive Mother