What is an Open Adoption?

A young blonde child walks away from the camera while holding their parent's hand.

If you are pursuing the adoption of a child, whether relative, domestic, or international, there are many items to consider prior to the formal agreement, and a legal adoption may take place. One of these items is the type of contact you may wish to have with the biological parents of the child after the adoption occurs. Many couples who desire to maintain a relationship with the biological parents of their adopted child, opt to complete an open adoption. Discuss with your Florida Adoption Attorney the differences between an open and closed adoption as well as the enforceability of these agreements in Florida courts.

The term of open adoption is commonly misunderstood. In many cases, adoptive parents fear an open adoption means the biological parent may retain the right to reclaim their child at any time, this is not the case. An open adoption simply means that communication and information may be exchanged between the parties. When in a closed adoption, information is limited. Some closed adoptions occur where the adoptive parents are unable to obtain any identifying information about the biological parents including medical history. While the birth parents are also unable to obtain the placement of the child. Although, some believe limited contact and complete severance of the ties between the child and biological parents aids in the transition, many have instead turned to an open adoption approach.

With an open adoption, you are able to set your boundaries and the amount and level of contact between you and the birth parents. For instance, some parents may want to exchange personal information such as contact numbers or emails, set up times for group family visits to maintain a relationship with the child, and share pictures or information about the child regularly. However, some parents may only want to exchange communication through their attorney or adoption entity and receive medical information and history from the birth parents in order to aid in the health of their child later on.

If you choose to engage in an open adoption, you will want to enter a Post Adoption Contact Agreement with the birth parents of the child. This agreement will outline the contact to be had for the life of the child. You can designate what times the birth parent may reach out, exchange personal information, require certain contact, as well as regulated contact with the child’s siblings. Florida specifically allows for Post Adoption Contact Agreements in Florida Statute 63.0427. When reviewing the petition for such an agreement, the court will look to the desires of the birth parents and adoptive parents, guardian ad litem, and anything the court deems necessary to consider the best interest of the child. If events occur where the adoptive parents feel the communication should be terminated or modified, to aid in the best interest of the child, they may petition the court for such modification or termination of the agreement. However, the court may never increase the communication between the parties without the consent of the adoptive parents. Although Florida does allow for Post Adoption Contact Agreements, and provides for the modification or termination of the same, there is no statute regarding their enforceability in court. Therefore, it is important to discuss with your Florida Adoption Attorney the intricacies of these agreements and the necessary points of consideration.

During this time, it is crucial to obtain experienced legal counsel such as a Virga Law Firm Florida Adoption Attorney. Adoptions are complicated and require legal expertise, especially if you desire an open adoption and to maintain contact with your child’s birth parents. We will seek to protect you and your family during this process and ensure you are aware of your rights throughout this process.

Speaking to an attorney at our Florida office is free of charge, and we accept calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Contact us at 850-307-5211 or complete an online contact form to get in touch with a member of our team today.

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