How Does Open Adoption Work for Birth Parents?
Placing a child for adoption is probably the most difficult decision a person will ever make. A huge fear for many parents considering adoption is that they will never see their child again or know how they are doing. But many adoptions are now done openly, where the birth parent or parents maintain contact with the child and the adoptive family. In Washington, open adoption agreements are legally enforceable so long as it is in the best interest of the child.
Before the adoption takes place, the birth family and the adoptive family can work with adoption professionals to reach an agreement as to the amount and type of contact the child will have with the birth family after the adoption and continuing until the child is grown.
Washington Open Adoption Lawyer
Having an open adoption requires careful legal attention so that all parties are protected and their wishes can be properly respected. Washington open adoption lawyer Joyce Schwensen is an experienced attorney who will work to make sure this difficult and complicated decision is executed as smoothly as possible. As an attorney who once ran an adoption agency, she understands the many facets of adoption, and seeks to help birth mothers find the option right for them. Call the Law Offices of Joyce S. Schwensen at (206) 367-1065 today to set up a free consultation to discuss the possibilities of an open adoption.
Joyce Schwensen is based in Seattle and handles open adoptions across the state of Washington, including in Spokane, Vancouver and Tacoma.
Defining Open Adoptions in Washington
In an open adoption, the birth mother and/or father and the adoptive parents obtain a court order giving the birth parents a legally enforceable right to have contact with the child after the adoption is completed and continuing until the child is grown. The amount of contact can vary based on what works best for everyone involved, from occasionally cards and letters, to phone calls, to face to face visits.
Before the court is asked to approve the open adoption arrangements, the birth family and the adoptive family will need to agree as to what they all feel comfortable with, and all the details will be worked out. The birth father may or may not be involved, depending on his decisions. And many times the relationship between the child and other birth relatives such as grandparents and siblings can also be continued. It is very important that the open adoption arrangements be something that everyone involved feels comfortable with.
In an open adoption, the birth parents may continue to be in contact with the child, or may receive pictures and letters about the child, but the adoptive parents are the legal parents of the child, with the right to make decisions about the child’s upbringing. Nothing about the open adoption arrangement can cause the adoption to be less permanent, because it is important for the child to grow up knowing that they are secure in their adoptive home. So, for example, should the birth mother finds out during communication with the child that the adoptive parents are making parenting decisions she doesn’t agree with, the birth mother would not have any right to challenge the adoption.
Your Washington adoption attorney can help you decide whether open adoption is a good decision for you.
Open Adoption is a Deeply Personal Choice
Many people are concerned that an open adoption would be confusing to the child — that he or she would not be able to understand the situation, and that the child may even dismiss the adoptive parents as not his or her "real parents."
However, many studies show that children often benefit from having an open adoption. Being adopted can be difficult to a child, and having no knowledge of his or her birth parents can be disconcerting. In an open adoption, those questions are resolved.
Whether the open adoption is better for the birth parent is a personal question you will have to decide for yourself. You may wish to put the entire matter behind you and never look back, and decide to have a closed adoption. You may want limited contact with your child, to know that he or she is healthy, and prefer brief updates. You may just want an occasional photo. You may wish to visit the child occasionally, and have him or her know you.
It's all about what the adoptive parents will agree to. However, it's often possible to find adoptive parents willing to meet your demands.
Law Offices of Joyce S. Schwensen | Washington Open Adoption Attorney
If you're considering placing your child for adoption and are interested in the possibility of an open adoption, experienced Washington open adoption lawyer Joyce Schwensen can help you understand your options, answer your questions and give you the information you need to decide. Whatever your choice, an open or closed adoption, she can then see you through the process, and help you find an adoptive family that is a good match for your child. Call today at (206) 367-1065 for a free consultation.