Is Open Adoption Right for Me?
Will I see my baby after I place THEM with the adoptive parents?
While you are preparing your adoption plan, you will work with your adoption professional to create a personalized communication plan that you are comfortable with. Many birth parents choose to have contact with their child and/or their parent(s) after placement, some do not choose to have contact, and others are in between.
The communication you have with the adoptive family and your child is called openness. Generally speaking, there are three basic types of relationships:
- Closed Relationships In a closed adoption, birth parents and adoptive families do not share contact with one another. They may never even meet.
- Semi-open In a semi-open adoption, very little information is exchanged. You may know each other’s names, have met at placement and share letters and pictures on a schedule but may not meet face-to-face after placement or have contact through phone/social media. Often any correspondence is sent through the agency.
- Open Relationships Birth families and adoptive families share photos and letters and have an on-going relationship that can include face-to-face visits, phone calls, texts, and/or contact on social media. Even in open relationships, the specifics can vary greatly.
Is open adoption right for me?
Adoption has changed a lot over the last decade. Most of the time it looks nothing like what you have seen on TV and in the movies. Almost all adoptions have some sort of openness as birth parents and adoptive parents almost always have some sort of contact before placement. You get to decide what sort of relationship you would like to have.
Here are some ideas to think about if you wonder if open adoption is right for you:
- Do I want to have updates on how my child is doing?
- How often do I want to get updates?
- In what ways do I want to get updates? (Telephone, Text, Pictures)
- Do I want to meet with my child?
- Do I want my family/loved ones to get updates or meet with my child?
- How might getting updates or visits affect me?
- What do I do if the relationship gets difficult?
- How will I react if my child wants more or less contact as they get older?
Who will make sure the adoption remains open?
At AdoptionLife.org we feel very strongly that promises should be kept. We work hard with all of our clients to understand how open adoption will really look like and to only agree with an openness that they truly feel like they can follow through with. We encourage the development of healthy boundaries, just like any other relationship.
Sometimes either party may feel that their agreement is not being kept or there may be reasons to change how the open adoption works. One of the reasons that open adoption agreements may change is because of the needs of the child. Ultimately, the determination of the best needs of the child will come down to the adoptive family. We will work with all involved to help figure out the challenges and find solutions that work for everyone.
Are open adoptions legally enforceable?
This depends on the state that the adoption is completed. Some states allow for legally enforceable post adoption contact contracts. Mediation or other legal remedies may be ordered by a judge to make sure the contract is followed. There are no states where the adoption will be reversed if the adoptive parents do not follow the contract.
In some states, it is not possible to have a legally enforceable agreement. We will still work hard with you and the adoptive family to resolve any concerns.
Whether legally enforceable or not, open adoption is an exercise in trust. It’s important to create a healthy relationship (no matter how much contact you will have) so that you feel comfortable with the promises of the adoptive family should any misunderstandings or challenges arise.