November 14, 2022

Why you may want to consider a post-adoption contact agreement

Finalizing an adoption can be more difficult than anticipated. Even if the birth parent and prospective adoptive parents agree about the important issues, emotions can take over once the time comes for adoption consents to be signed. In many instances, this leaves the birth parents wondering if they are doing what is right for their child.

This hesitation is fueled, in part, by the belief that adoption will forever sever the ties between the birth parents and the child. While this may be true in some instances, adoption does not have to result in the end of the birth parent-child relationship. In fact, the parties involved in an adoption may find that a post-adoption contact agreement is in the child’s best interest.

Should you consider a post-adoption contact agreement?

There are a number of benefits to one of these agreements. For example, they can help the child retain contact with biological relatives, including siblings. Ongoing communication through one of these agreements can also help adoptive parents gain a clearer sense of the biological family’s medical history. In many instances, a post-adoption contact agreement reassures a biological parent, thereby making it easier for him or her to proceed with the adoption plan. These benefits often outweigh any drawbacks, especially when proper protections are put in place to allow for modification or termination of the agreement.

What is a post-adoption contact agreement?

This is a written agreement where the birth parent and adoptive parents agree to some form of contact between the birth parent, adoptive family and the child even once the adoption is finalized. This agreement can include periodic physical contact, such as through visitation, and/or indirect contact, such as gifts, letters, cards, pictures, and updates. Phone calls might also be allowed under the agreement. It is really up to the birth parent and the adoptive parents to negotiated what sort of arrangement they think is best for the child

It is important to note, too, that this agreement only sets the minimum amount of contact that can occur between the birth parents and the child. The parties are free to engage in more contact if they think that it is in the child’s best interests.  It is important to remember that this agreement may be enforceable in Georgia, so both sides have to abide by it as much as possible If one side is not complying with the agreement, then the matter can be taken to court.

What are the benefits of post-adoption contact?

There are actually quite a few. Perhaps the biggest is that it gives the child a greater network of love and support while also providing him or her with a better understanding of his or her identity. Keeping the birth parent involved in the child’s life can also give the adoptive parents a better understanding as far as familial histories, including medical history, and put to rest fears of the child asking questions about his or her birth family that are difficult to answer.

What if a birth parent or adoptive family does not comply with a post-adoption contact agreement?

Oftentimes, these agreements are written with a clause so that if the parties substantially fall out of compliance with the agreement, or the agreement is no longer in the best interest of the child, then the entire agreement can be modified. The terms of these modification or termination provisions have to be specific and should be tailored to the child’s best interest. For example, the parties may agree that the arrangement will cease if the birth parent misses three consecutive scheduled visits with the child. In addition, the birth parent has the option of filing an action in court to enforce the provisions of the agreement if the adoptive parents do not comply with the terms of the agreement.

Navigate adoption with confidence.

There are a lot of legalities involved in the adoption process, which can be difficult to keep track of as you deal with the emotional realities of the situation. But that is where assistance from a skilled adoption attorney may prove beneficial. An attorney with expertise in adoption law can help you navigate the intricacies of your case so that you can hopefully achieve an outcome that is best for the child and your relationship with him or her.