The difference between a closed adoption and an open adoption is relatively simple. In a closed adoption, the adopted child will not have any contact with his or her biological parent. In an open adoption, the adopted child will have contact with his or her biological parent.
In the past, nearly all adoptions fell under the category of closed. However, these days, it is more common for adoptions to be open, and for the adoptive parents, the biological parents and the children to be in regular contact with one another. In fact, these days, completely closed adoptions are considered rare in the United States, unless the adoption is of a foreign child who is brought to the United States to be raised by his U.S. adoptive parents here.
In the past, when most adoptions were closed, it was not uncommon for children to never even realize that they were adopted. The adoptive parents would have their name put on a list and wait for a match. They usually do not know where their new child came from, and they did not know who the biological parents were.
Sometimes, it is possible for a North Dakota resident to unseal his or her adoption records in a closed adoption for the purpose of locating his or her birth parents. Likewise, the birth parents may be able to take action to find their son or daughter. That said, it might take legal action and a court order in some cases to pursue information relating to a child given up for adoption or relating to biological parents following an adoption. Therefore, it could be beneficial to be represented by a lawyer in such matters.