How ‘Open’ is Open Adoption

August 24th, 2011

My boysWhen you think of the term 'open' you think of the ability to freely go in and a restaurant displaying their sign 'open'. They don't attach any stipulations to that term such as you can only come in on my good days or you can only eat what I place in front of you...that wouldn't appear to be the 'open' we are all accustomed to. So when you say 'open adoption' does it mean that as a birth mother you can walk in and out of the life of the adoptive parents freely? OR does it mean that the adoptive parents can walk in and out of yours just the same? There seems to be no true definition across the board… [more]

Can You Close Your Adoption?

May 31st, 2009

I've talked about the appropriate reasons and not-so-appropriate reasons that adoptive parents may choose to close a once-open adoption. And so the question remains: can you, as a birth parent, close the adoption? Or, perhaps, the question should be: should you, as a birth parnet, close the adoption? My knee-jerk reaction is: NO! But I know that there are always exceptions to the rule. As such, here are some reasons that I feel are appropriate for you to (temporarily!) close an adoption as a birth parent. 1. The adoptive parents have somehow abused your parented children. (Verbally or physically.) 2. The adoptive parents refuse to respect your boundaries or the boundaries within your own family. 3. There is an abuse issue between your relinquished child and your parented children. 4. The… [more]

Reaching Out Again

May 31st, 2009

Sometimes in open adoptions one side loses contact with the other. This can be due to many reasons: work, school, and family just to name a few. An arranged break is one thing and can actually help promote a healthy relationship. However, falling off the face of the Earth is another and is an unacceptable move. No matter how hard open adoption is for us, as adults, not keeping continual contact will be even harder on the child. Children need continuity in life, especially in this thing called open adoption. Taking a break without arranging it is unacceptable, open adoption is child–centered not adult–centered. If an unexpected break in contact has happened to you or because of you, there are ways that you can reach out to your child's other family… [more]

Living in the Same City

June 23rd, 2008

A recent discussion on the forums has adoptive parents talking about how they would feel if the birth parents moved to their city. As a birth parent who doesn't plan on moving until my Husband retires, I wondered the flip side of the question. How would you (or I) feel, as a birth parent, if the adoptive family moved to your (or my) city? Depending on the size of your city (mine is small!) and your similar likes (many) and dislikes, running into your child's adoptive family without warning could be a possibility in this situation. Unless you stay in your house all day, everyday, people need things like gas, milk and Starbucks. (What? It's true!) How would you handle things like this and other issues which… [more]

Many Share His Pain

April 27th, 2008

I know too many birth parents who have been promised on-going, open relationships with their relinquished children and their parents only to have the door slammed in their face at some point along the way. Yet the media doesn't cover their stories. It seems that the voice of pain is only given to families who have experienced failed matches or overturned adoptions. And so, today I was both shocked and saddened to see that someone is getting some coverage on the topic of a once open, now closed adoption. It seems that the biological father of Madonna's (adopted) son is voicing his sadness, anger and regret for allowing his son to be adopted. Apparently Madonna promised to remain in contact with the father and has failed… [more]

Post-Adoption Contact Agreements: West Virginia

February 4th, 2008

I grew up driving through the tip of the West Virginian panhandle on a regular basis. We'd leave Pennsylvania, enter West Virginia and leave it for Ohio in a ten minute time frame. Living so close to the state, I was subject to a wide array of jokes in my formative years. Perhaps that's why I had a negative view of the state before I pulled up the information on how they handle post-adoption contact agreements. Unfortunately, the information I found didn't help my opinion of the state at all. Thankfully, it's a beautiful state to drive through! (New River Gorge? Stunning!) But back to the subject at hand. Prepare to be underwhelmed! What may be included in postadoption contact agreements? This issue is not addressed in… [more]

Post-Adoption Contact Agreements: Washington

January 29th, 2008

I think I'd like to visit Washington state. It just seems interesting. I mean, their gem is petrified wood. That's just interesting! Then again, their state dance is the square dance. I can get that kind of action without traveling across the country. All that said, their post-adoption contact agreement laws aren't too unfriendly to families wanting communication between birth and adoptive parents. It was refreshing to see after a few of our recent (alphabetical) states. Let's take a look. What may be included in postadoption contact agreements? Citation: Rev. Code § 26.33.295 Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prohibit the parties to a proceeding under this chapter from entering into agreements regarding communication with or contact between adopted children, adoptive parents, and a birth parent or parents. Okay… [more]

Post-Adoption Contact Agreements: Vermont

January 25th, 2008

Vermont. I've never been there. But I do know that they lead the country in production of maple syrup. And I like maple syrup, though, I prefer the all natural stuff that my Husband's grandfather makes over the bottled stuff. All sticky-sweet stuff aside, I had hope that a known progressive state would look at Post-Adoption Contact Agreements in a, well, progressive manner. I was somewhat disappointed. They're not totally backwards but there's some room for improvement. Wipe the syrup off your hands and look with me, will you? What may be included in postadoption contact agreements? Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 15A, § 4-112 [This section applies to stepparent adoptions only.] Upon the request of the petitioner, the petitioner's spouse, the child's other parent, or a relative of the child… [more]

Post-Adoption Contact Agreements: Texas

January 21st, 2008

Texas. The Lone Star State. It's pretty big. It's got random weather and elevations. Their motto is "friendship" and the state's name itself is derived from an Indian word meaning the same thing. But are they post-adoption contact agreement friendly? Let's see. What may be included in postadoption contact agreements? Citation: Fam. Code §§ 161.2061; 161.2062 An order terminating the parent-child relationship may include terms that allow the biological parent to: * Receive specified information regarding the child * Provide written communications to the child * Have limited access to the child The order of termination may not require that a subsequent adoption order include terms regarding limited posttermination contact between the child and a biological parent. The wording leaves me to question… [more]

Post-Adoption Contact Agreements: Tennessee

January 16th, 2008

I like Tennessee. I like country music. While I haven't been to Nashville (though I do plan on it in the next five years as a getaway with the Husband), I've traveled through various parts of the state. It's pretty nice looking and the folks we encountered were nice. I am amused, however, that their state bird is a Mockingbird. It makes me want to sing. (Mock. MOCK!) Anyway, since I like the state so much, I was hopeful about their laws regarding post-adoption contact agreements. They didn't necessarily let me down. But they didn't lift me up either. Or, really, they just didn't do much of anything. What may be included in postadoption contact agreements? Citation: Ann. Code § 36-1-121(f) No conditions shall be placed on the adoption… [more]