Duhaime's Law Dictionary


Closed Adoption Definition:

An adoption of a child in which the relinquishing parent surrenders his or her parental rights to unknown parties.

Related Terms: Open Adoption, Adoption, Adoption of Convenience

In Yopp v Batt, Justice White of the Supreme Court of Nebraska wrote:

"In the case of a closed adoption, the relinquishing parent surrenders his or her rights to unknown parties....

"(E)xcept in the agency adoption situation, after an adoption decree has been entered, the natural parents of the adopted child shall be relieved of all parental duties and responsibilities for the child and shall have no rights over the child.... The relinquishing parent's rights are not totally extinguished until the child has been formally adopted by the prospective parents."

In the 2012 edition of AmJur., the authors propose this summary of the law:

"In some jurisdictions, in what is sometimes known as an open adoption, the natural mother may select the adoptive parents for her child.

"In the case of a closed adoption, the relinquishing parent surrenders his or her rights to unknown parties.

"Open adoptions have also been described as adoptions in which the court supplements an order of adoption with a provision directing that the adopted child have continuing contacts and visitation with members of his or her biological family; such adoptions have been specifically rejected by some courts, in the absence of legislative authority therefor"

In Re M.Z.F., the Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta included these words of a registered psychologist in rendering judgment:

"Closed adoption is considered preferential when there has been significant abuse, and ongoing access may place the child at physical or emotional risk. Closed adoption is also considered preferential when the biological parents are in disagreement with the adoption and are unable/unwilling to accept the adoptive family as the primary parents."

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