Adoption in the 21st century may be closed or open. In cases of open adoption, all identifying information pertaining to the parties is available to the adoptive and biological parents. While this seems to be the exception, rather than the norm, there are at least six states in the U.S. that allow this kind of access to adoption information.
Open adoptions may be an informal kind of arrangement, which may be halted at any time by the adoptive parents. In other jurisdictions, the adoptive and biological parents can sign a legally binding enforceable agreement relating to visiting rights, sharing information, or other matters dealing with the child. There are at least 24 U.S. states that allow open adoption contracts to be included when adoption is finalized.
Closed adoptions are more common, and in these instances, all information is sealed. However, despite the non-disclosure of the parent’s identities, there is information that may be accessed, such as medical history and religious and ethnic backgrounds.
There are some U.S. states that have passed what are referred to as safe haven laws, which many feel is a dangerous practice. This allows babies to be left at certain places anonymously within a few days of birth.