Open, Semi-Open, Closed, & International Adoptions

Types of Adoption

What are your options?

Adoption is very personal, and at CHS, we work to help each family develop an adoption plan that meets their unique and special dream. Part of the adoption planning process is deciding what type of relationship will be developed between the birth parents and the adopting family.


Open Adoption{ Read }

In an Open Adoption:

  • The birth parents meet the potential adoptive family. The family may be someone they know or someone the agency introduces to them.
  • The birth and adoptive families may choose to fully disclose indentifying information.
  • There may be ongoing contact, such as attending the birth of the child and attending physician visits together.
  • There can be direct contact between the families.
  • All contacts are centered on the child and his/her well-being.


Everyone involved in an open adoption communicates directly. This plan allows both families to nurture their relationship as it naturally develops. The agency often assists with supporting the relationship, especially early on.

  • Adoptive parents in an open adoption accept birth parent participation as a way to enhance their parenting and the life of their child, not to diminish it.
  • Openness in adoption is as much about attitude as it is about actions.
  • Openness in adoption is not co-parenting.

With open adoption plans, the children grow up knowing that they are loved by all of their family – the parents who adopted them and the parents who gave them life. Relationships with some degree of openness give adoptive parents the knowledge and experience to answer their children's questions most effectively.

Semi-Open Adoption{ Read }

In a Semi-Open Adoption:

  • The birth parents choose a family from written, non-identifying profiles.
  • The agency mediates the contact before and after the birth.
  • Birth parents and adoptive parents know each other only by their first names.
  • Adoptive parents may be present at the birth and may meet the birth parents before the birth, but the nature of the information exchanged is much less open.
  • All correspondence is sent through the agency.
  • Adoptive parents often share ongoing pictures and letters with the birth parents, but do so through the agency.


A semi-open adoption gives everyone the support of a trained mediator. Semi-open adoptions sometimes develop into more open adoptions over time, allowing parties to become comfortable with their relationship over time and at their own personal pace.

Closed Adoption{ Read }

In a Closed Adoption:

  • Birth parents request that the agency choose their child’s adoptive family.
  • Birth and adoptive parents do not disclose any identifying information.
  • The adoptive family receives information about the birth family’s medical history up to the point of placement. There is no planned, ongoing sharing of social and medical information after the adoption is finalized.
  • There is no contact between the adoptive family and birth family, such as sharing of photos and letters, or visits.
  • Access to finding a birth parent is limited by law and must be by mutual agreement at the time the child is of legal age.

Total confidentiality is legally provided for adoptive parents and birth parents. In this form of adoption, there is no ongoing exchange of information. As an adoptive child grows, he or she may have questions that remain unanswered. Closed adoptions can make it difficult to gain needed information.

International Adoption{ Read }

CHS works with many international adoption agencies across the country. When an international adoption is being planned, CHS is available locally to conduct home studies and post-placement services. We also work in direct partnership with CHS and Family Services of Minnesota. For more information, visit:

For more information, please contact us at or 314.968.2350 x230.

Special Needs Adoption{ Read }

This type of adoption refers to children in foster care who are in the custody of the state because of abuse or neglect. Often children are older and may be part of an inseparable sibling group of two or more children. If the children are unable to be safely returned home, adoption often becomes the plan. CHS works under contract with the State of Missouri to provide adoptive parents with specialized training to better equip them to parent children with special needs. Social workers are available following the placement of the children for as long as needed.

For more information, please contact us at or 314.968.2350 x223.