What Is Open Adoption?
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There is no one definition of “open adoption.” Instead, there is a continuum of openness and an adoption can fit between a closed adoption at one end and a fully open adoption in which the adopted child has the potential of developing a personal relationship with his or her biological family at the other end.
Generally, an open adoption is one in which the biological parents and adoptive parents have a way to communicate directly with each other. This may involve the exchange of identifying information.
In an open adoption, the rights of the biological parents to the child are terminated and the adoptive parents become the legal parents. However, the biological parents and adoptive family remain in contact. For more information about open adoptions, please contact Rhonda Fishbein, an experienced Georgia adoption attorney.
The Open Adoption Process
Most domestic adoptions involve the biological mother and biological father (if he is still in a relationship with the biological mother) in the process of selecting the adoptive family. If time permits, this is done before the baby is born. After identifying a possible adoptive family, there is frequently a face-to-face meeting between the biological parents and adoptive parents. In some instances, the first contact is through a telephone conversation, followed by a meeting. The hope is that the biological parents and adoptive parents grow to trust each other and that important information is shared for the child’s benefit and the biological parents’ peace of mind.
Some biological mothers invite the adoptive parents to accompany them to prenatal visits. In addition, if a close relationship develops, the adoptive parents may be present at the birth of the baby.
Although pre-birth openness is common in newborn adoptions, some adoptions involve ongoing contact following the birth. The most common arrangement in open adoptions is for the adoptive parents to commit to send letters and photographs of the child to the biological parents on an agreed-upon scheduled basis, letting them know how the child is doing. In some instances, the biological parents and adoptive family agree to maintain contact through visits.
The most important issue when discussing ongoing contact is for adoptive parents and biological parents to honestly explain the type of adoption each desires to prevent future misunderstandings and to honor their commitment on contact arrangements.
As of July 1, 2013, the Georgia adoption statute offers the option to adoptive families and birth parents to have enforceable post-adoption contact agreements. There are specific requirements for such agreements. This statute is only applicable to adoptions being finalized in the Georgia courts. Although the post-adoption contact agreements may be enforced by the court that granted the petition for adoption, the statute clearly explains: “A court shall not set aside a decree of adoption, rescind a surrender or modify an order to terminate parental rights or any other prior court order because of the failure of an adoptive parent, a birth relative, or the child to comply with any or all of the original terms of, or subsequent modifications to, a post-adoption contact agreement.”
Contact Atlanta Adoption Lawyer
To speak with Rhonda about the possibility of open adoption, call 770-437-8582, or contact her by e-mail.