Will I be allowed to maintain contact with my child after the adoption?
You do have the option of maintaining contact with your child after the adoption. In fact, these types of post-adoption relationships are becoming increasingly common.
Prior to the 1980s, most adoptions were closed, meaning the birth parents and adoptive family exchanged no identifying information and very little, if any, contact during and after the adoption process. Closed adoption was the norm rather than a choice. As a result, many birth mothers, adoptive parents and children were left with unanswered questions about their adoption story.
Today, expectant mothers have the power to choose the type of adoption they want to have: open, semi-open or closed.
Semi-Open and Open Adoption with FCCA
There are two main types of open adoption:
- Fully open adoption involves the exchange of identifying information, including last names and personal contact information, as well as direct contact between the adoptive family and birth parents.
- Semi-open adoption includes the exchange of non-identifying information (including first names), and contact is usually mediated through your adoption agency.
The majority of infant adoptions through FCCA provide for some level of openness. Most commonly, the adoptive family agrees to send pictures and letters to you several times per year, until the child is 18. Sometimes families communicate directly with the child’s birth mother, and even have in-person visits once or twice a year. These arrangements would be considered fully open adoptions.
Other times, letters and pictures are exchanged through FCCA in a semi-open adoption. Of course, if you do not want any contact after the adoption, you are free to choose this option as well. Women who choose closed adoption will still be in control of their adoption plan and can make many important decisions throughout the process, including choosing the adoptive parents, planning their hospital stay, and more.
Whatever type of contact you want to have with your child after the adoption, FCCA will help you negotiate a post-adoption contact agreement with the adoptive family. This is permitted under California law and will become a legally enforceable agreement once it is signed by all parties and filed with the court in the adoption file.
In the best of all worlds, you will have some idea of the amount and type of contact you want before you are matched with a potential adoptive family, so that everyone goes into the match with similar expectations. However, we understand that your feelings about this issue can evolve over time. We will always discuss your requests with the family and do our best to help you come to a solid written agreement with them.
The Benefits of Openness in Adoption
Ninety-five percent of adoptions today are considered open or semi-open. Most prospective birth mothers choose to maintain a post-adoption relationship with the family and their child because of the many benefits these relationships can offer:
- Reassurance in your adoption decision: As you get to know the adoptive family, you may feel more confident that they will provide the type of life and home you want for your child. Bonding with your baby’s prospective parents can provide the reassurance you need to feel comfortable with your adoption plan.
- Peace after placement: Signing the final adoption paperwork is never easy, but knowing that you will be able to see your child again may help you process your feelings of grief and loss following placement. You will always know your child is happy and healthy, and that can help you find closure after the adoption.
- Opportunities to tell your story: Depending on your relationship with the adoptive parents, open adoption may give you the chance to tell your child his or her adoption story in your own words. You can explain your adoption decision, remind your child of your love, and help answer his or her adoption questions. This not only benefits you, but it will also benefit your child to know that you chose adoption out of love for him or her.
- New, supportive relationships: In addition to your relationship with your child, open adoption can provide you with many other meaningful, lifelong relationships. Many birth mothers and adoptive parents even consider each other extended family, and these types of loving, supportive relationships benefit everyone involved.
While open and semi-open adoption can be beneficial in many ways, it is up to each prospective birth mother to decide what type of post-adoption relationship is right for her. FCCA can provide the support you need as you make this and many other important decisions throughout the adoption process.
To learn more about semi-open and open adoption in California, please contact FCCA today to request free adoption information. Your call is confidential and does not obligate you to proceed with an adoption plan.