Open Adoption Laws

An open adoption is one in which a birth mother and prospective adoptive parents know the first and last name of each other. Openness may just be for the duration of an adoption, a few months after placement or may continue on years after a placement.

Contracts or negotiations to keep an open adoption is not legally binding nor is it legally prohibited. Adoptive parents have the final say in who their adopted child may come in contact with. Granted, if the adoptive and birth parents have an agreement to maintain contact, only about a third of the states in the U.S. rule that these agreements are valid if in the child's best interest. These negotiations, if formalized, can be challenged. These agreements may specify the kind of contact that will be made and at what frequency the birth parents can contact the adoptee.

All negotiations must be approved prior to an adoption finalization. Agreements can be changed or voided later post-adoption if the courts are petitioned to do so.

About eight states do not enforce adoption agreements and about 22 states allow contracts to be enforced. Nebraska and Connecticut only allow post-placement contact for children adopted from foster care. Indiana allows contact if a child was adopted over the age of 2 and does not allow enforceable visitation agreements to made for infants.

Other states have different laws regulating the kind of birth relatives considered to be eligible for contact. States such as California allow members of a Native American adoptee's tribe to be considered birth family. Siblings are also considered eligible for visitation or participation in certain states.


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Visitor Comments (6)
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sabrina marie - 1 year ago
0 0 1
I was adopted at age 10 With my 2 little sisters and I'm 17 right now, at age 11 the adopted mother put me in a group home away from my 2 little sisters. And till today I'm still in a group home.. how is she allowed to do this?? ( I'm not violent or anything) #1
Anthony - 3 months ago
If I haven't seen my son in a few years but threw an open adoption contract I get two visit a year is there any way they can not give me my visits also the adoptive parents are trying not to introduce me as my sons father I believe that's not fair or right or legal no where in the contract does it say I can not say that I'm his father so I ws wondering is there any way with out reason they can refuse to give me my visits #2
gina - 3 weeks ago
0 0 0
open adoption is covert legalized kidnapping....... #3
Betty - 8 months ago
I am currently in a court Case where they are going for termination of my rights. I have had one involuntary termination with my first child and three subsequent voluntary terminations. I had a fifth child removed by cps and got him back in less than four months. He was taken away again seven months after the case was closed and they are going for termination. What should I do? #4
Andrea Coates - 2 years ago
0 0 0
7 years ago, I had to make the hardest decision of my life. I had no choice due to family issues. I went through an agency and decided to do an open adoption. After 3 year's, I was told I had to wait till my girl's hit 18. I choose an open adoption, due to the fact I didn't want to lose my angels. I had no choice but an adoption. I was told I could receive photos and information concerning my girl's. That I could be a part of their lives to some point. I was lied to. After 3 year's, I was told I have to wait till they turn 18. I choose an open adoption to be a part of their life to some point. I miss them dearly and wish I knew what I can do. I don't think lieing to parents is right. I choose an open adoption but I get no information mor any photos. Just wish I knew what rights I have and what I can do. #5
odinn - 2 years ago
0 1 1
I wss told in Michigan i could only see him once a yr and he is 1. they made. me try to get a job. i get SSI. and i.had a place #6
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