Adoption Basics

Openness

Openness refers to the information and contact that occurs between an adoptive family and the child or youth’s birth family and other important people in the child or youth’s life. Openness orders and agreements are a way for an adoptive child or youth to maintain contact between themselves and their birth family, including siblings, as well as other important people, such as friends and neighbours, when it is in the child’s best interest. It helps children and youth remain connected to important people and their communities and cultures while forming new relationships with their adoptive family. For First Nations, Inuit and Metis children, openness helps to develop and maintain connections with their culture, heritage, traditions and community.

Every openness arrangement is unique and can vary from exchanging non-identifying information to regular face-to-face contact and arrangements may change as the child grows and develops. As the chart demonstrates contact with individuals who are important to the child can occur on a continuum.

If openness is new for you, it might help to hear about how other adoptive parents experience openness and how it benefits everyone in their family. Here is how some adoptive parents describe it:

Openness and contact evolves over time

We gained heart relatives

Our son’s grief told us he needed more contact

Your society will work with you in developing openness arrangements that are in your child or youth’s best interest during the adoption process. The Office of the Children’s Lawyer may be involved, acting as your child’s lawyer to represent their interests.