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]

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]

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]

Post-Adoption Contact Agreements: South Dakota

January 15th, 2008

South Dakota. Their state insect is the honeybee which is rather appropriate. Why? Their laws regarding post-adoption contact agreements have me all a-buzz. (I'm funny, no?) We start out rather specific and then get all kinds of confusing somewhere in the middle. Take a look: What may be included in postadoption contact agreements? Citation: Codified Laws § 25-6-17 The natural parents of an adopted child shall retain no rights or privileges to have visitation or other postadoption contact with the child, except in cases where a natural parent consents to the adoption of a child by the child's stepfather or stepmother who is the present spouse of the natural parent, or in cases of voluntary termination where there is a written preadoption agreement between the natural parent or parents and… [more]

Post-Adoption Contact Agreements: South Carolina

January 14th, 2008

I like South Carolina. It's a nice place to visit. I wouldn't want to live there because, oh, I don't do well in heat. I can't even handle the heat in the summer up north! Summer in the south would melt me! That said, I've found another reason that I don't want to live in South Carolina. And it's based on how they address, or, rather, don't address post-adoption contact agreements. Let's take a brief look. What may be included in postadoption contact agreements? Citation: Ann. Code § 20-7-1770(D) An agreement may be entered into before the adoption between adoptive parents and biological parents concerning visitation, exchange of information, or other interaction between the child and any other person. Any other person, eh? So we can write in provisions for contact… [more]