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What should you include in an open adoption agreement?

Placing a child up for adoption is no small decision. A birth mother might recognize that it is in the child's best interests, but they might not be willing to sever all ties with their child or the adoptive parents.

Nowadays, more than half of the adoptions in the U.S. are open adoptions. Open adoptions allow birth mothers or both birth parents to maintain some level of involvement in their child's life—even after the adoption. However, these situations can become complex. It is essential to create a detailed open adoption agreement to protect the child's best interests.

In order to create an effective open adoption agreement, there are a few details that birth parents and adoptive parents in Florida must consider:

What form of contact will birth parents have? 

Open adoption allows birth parents to be involved in the child's life, but it is up to the birth parents and adoptive parents to determine the level of that involvement. This contact can have a wide range, including anything from:

  • Only the birth and adoptive parents exchanging critical information
  • Letter, photo or email correspondence regarding the child
  • Visitation time between the child and the birth parents

It is helpful for all parties to agree on an arrangement and then outline their expectations.

How should the child be raised?

Regardless of the type of adoption, birth parents terminate their legal rights and relationship to the child. Even an open adoption that provides more options for birth parents terminates their legal parental rights.

However, in an open adoption, birth parents might be able to have a say in how the child is raised. Open adoptions may allow birth parents to:

  • Have a say in choosing who the adoptive parents are
  • Choose whether they wish the child to know details about their birth culture
  • Determine whether they will be involved in decisions about the child's life

It is critical to note that, usually, decisions about the child's care and life will be up to the adoptive parents. But an open adoption can give birth parents peace of mind to know how their child is doing as they grow. And creating a practical open adoption agreement can help ease the stress of the situation on all parties involved.

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