Open Adoption refers to an adoption where there is an open exchange of information between placing and adopting parents that continues through the post-adoption years. While there are degrees of openness in adoption, a truly open adoption involves ongoing contact and often includes visits.
Most relative adoptions are open, such as grandparent adoption, where the child knows and interacts with his/her biological parent(s), however it has only been the 1970s that open adoption in "stranger" adoptions (adoption by non-related persons) began to appear.
Open adoption research suggests that the openness and interaction is beneficial to all parties - the child, the biological parent(s), and the adoptive parent(s); however, it should be noted that the most extensive research work on open adoptions, the Minnesota-Texas Adoption Research Project, was conducted on infant same-race adoptions only.
Open Adoption isn't for every situation, but child psychologists who specialize in adoption and adoptive family issues, suggest that when the child's safety and well-being are not a concern, open adoption can be healthy for the child, and if the adults involved (birth and adoptive parents) can stay focused on the needs of the child, openness will benefit everyone.