Adoptions With Love Blog

Open Adoption Rules, Regulations, and Rights: What You Need to Know

It is no secret that adoption can be a positive choice when facing an unintended pregnancy. It offers children a bright future, and expectant/birth parents a chance to go on to pursue their life goals. Open adoption, in particular, has many additional benefits. For one, it gives expectant/birth parents great peace of mind. When an expectant/birth mother selects a family for her baby and makes an open adoption plan, she can rest assured that her child will have a wonderful life, filled with safety, stability, and love. Through open adoption, she can remain a part of that life as well.

Many people think that adoption has to mean goodbye forever; however, open adoption allows birth parents and adoptive families to stay in touch over the years. A birth mother can see how her child is doing. Adoptive families can share photos and updates of their child as he/she grows. The child can benefit from knowing, or having a connection to, his or her biological parents.

If you are facing an unplanned pregnancy and considering placing your child for adoption, you may be curious to learn more about open adoption. You may be wondering, “How is it possible that I can keep in contact with my child?” You may be asking, “Is that legal?” or “Are there rules involved?” Here, we will share some valuable information about open adoption rules, laws, and your rights as a birth mother, as you bravely set out on this journey.

Open Adoption Basics

First of all, we should define open adoption before diving any deeper. Open adoption is an adoption wherein there is some form of ongoing communication between birth mother and the adoptive parent.,. This relationship often begins with an expectant/birth mother meeting with the adoptive family. It is the best place to start, too. When an expectant/birth mother and an adoptive family can come together and decide what is best for the child, this sets a positive and healthy tone for a great adoption relationship long-term.

Once the adoption occurs, the birth mother will receive messages, letters, and/or pictures from her child’s adoptive family. The level of contact is completely up to you and what you are comfortable with as a birth mother. Some families choose to maintain contact via letters, email, texts, phone calls, or even in-person visits.

In today’s modern world, open adoption is much more common than closed adoption. In fact, 95 percent of adoptions today are open. This arrangement has many proven benefits. Nearly all adopted children over the age of five (90 percent) report having positive feelings about their adoption. Most pregnant women who choose their child’s adoptive family report lower levels of ongoing grief, regret, worry, and sadness than those who did not make this choice.

Open Adoption Laws and Regulations

Now to the open adoption rules that you will want to know. Adoption laws, in general, vary by state. This is why it is best to work with an experienced adoption agency that  is familiar with the laws of each state. Adoptions With Love, for example, has been working with birth mothers nationwide for more than 33 years. Our attorneys are well-versed in all of the adoption laws you need to know, and their services are completely free to expectant/birth mothers.

If you choose to have an open adoption plan, you will likely be introduced to an open adoption agreement. This is a post-adoption contract that outlines expectations (and boundaries) for ongoing communication between you – the birth mom – and your child’s adoptive family. It will outline preferred methods of communication, as well as how often you will communicate with one another.

Massachusetts is one of just 29 states where licensed agencies can write legal and enforceable open adoption agreements.[1] The simple fact that an open adoption agreement can be made enforceable gives many expectant/birth mothers peace of mind. With this binding contract in place, combined with the ongoing support of a reliable adoption agency, you can rest assured that placing your baby for adoption does not mean goodbye forever. You will always be able to turn to your open adoption agreement and continue communication, as agreed upon at the time of adoption, as long as it is in the best interest of your child.

It is important to know that open adoption agreements are not always binding, particularly if they cross state lines. However, if the adoption agreement is signed with a licensed agency like Adoptions With Love, then it is binding with the agency. This is one of the many reasons that working with an adoption agency is beneficial.

The open adoption agreement must be followed as it is stated in the contract. If you and your adoptive family agree to monthly email updates, for example, this is the form and frequency of communication that is to be followed.

While an open adoption plan is written , it may be tweaked over the years, as needed. This might mean that as your child gets older, the form of communication can change. Instead of letters or emails year after year, you and your child’s adoptive family may find that texts or phone calls work better. Your adoption agency can help facilitate changes to your open adoption plan, so that all parties continue to be happy with the arrangements.

Mutual respect, understanding, and flexibility are some of the keys in making the open adoption a success throughout the years.

Of course, this begins at the very start of your journey to adoption. At Adoptions With Love, expectant/birth mothers are encouraged to get to know their child’s adoptive family. This allows you to ask questions, get answers, and choose the family that meets your wishes and needs. With the many adoptive family profiles at your fingertips, you can browse through their information before choosing the family that fits. A caring member of our staff can sit with you as you explore your options.

Meeting the family can also help you establish a positive relationship with them right at the very start. Sometimes, expectant/birth mothers form a close bond with their child’s adoptive family and end up enjoying family gatherings together as the years go on. You are forever bonded with the love that you share for this precious child, after all.

Open Adoption Rules!

Open adoption has many benefits. Children can grow up knowing more about their background and genealogy. They have the ability to ask questions, get answers, and understand more about their story. Most of all, children in open adoptions tend to grow up with a greater respect (and love) for their biological parents.

If you would like to learn more about open adoption, or speak with one of our caring counselors about making an open adoption plan, please do not hesitate to call. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We can go over your options and come up with a plan that best suits your needs. Call us at 1-800-722-7731, or text us confidentially at 617-777-0072.

[1] https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubPDFs/cooperative.pdf