In an adoption, contact between birth parents, adoptive parents, and—as appropriate—the adopted child (also referred to as openness in adoption) allows family members to communicate and stay connected. Supporting these relationships is in the best interests of the child, and ongoing contact between adoptive and birth family members may minimize the child's feelings of grief and loss, reduce the trauma of separation, and help the child develop a stronger sense of identity. This communication may change over time and can include infrequent contact; mediated contact through a third party, email, or letters; or ongoing, in-person interaction. This section includes resources that communicate the importance of maintaining connections in adoption and assist in creating postadoption contact agreements with your child's adoptive parents.
4 Facts About Post-Adoption Contact
Provides answers to frequently asked questions, based upon New York State law, from a birth parent that placed her child for adoption, about postadoption contact agreements. The article discusses topics such as termination of parental rights, visitation agreements, and connections between siblings.
6 Key Factors to Consider for an Open Adoption
Suggests six items to consider during open adoption to ensure the child feels loved and supported by all family members and others involved in the adoption process.
Co-Parenting or Shared Parenting
North American Council on Adoptable Children (2018)
Provides information and tips on maintaining open communication between birth and foster or adoptive parents to improve the well-being of the children in care.
Connections Matter: Relationships with Birth Families are Important for Foster, Adopted Children
Riley & Singer (2019)
The Chronicle of Social Change
Details the importance of maintaining connections between birth parents, adoptive families, and adopted children after the adoption has been finalized and provides guidance on making decisions regarding contact and tips for ensuring successful relationships between the birth parents and adoptive families.
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Child Welfare Information Gateway
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Creating a Family
Offers information about openness in adoption, including interviews with adoption professionals, blogs, and suggested books.
Openness in Adoption
Pact, an Adoption Alliance
Describes open and closed adoptions and gives information on the history of adoption in the United States. The website also answers frequently asked questions about open adoption and how it works for birth families.
Openness in Adoption: From Secrecy and Stigma to Knowledge and Connections
Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute (2012)
View Abstract and Document
Presents a report depicting how extensively adoption in the U.S. has changed over the last several decades - from a time when it was shrouded in so much secrecy that birth and adoptive families knew nothing about each other, to a new reality today in which the vast majority of infant adoptions are "open," meaning the two families have some level of ongoing relationship.
Post-Adoption Contact Agreements
Academy of Adoption & Assisted Reproduction Attorneys
Explains the process of entering into a legally-binding and “good faith” postadoption contact agreement.
Post-Adoption Contact Agreement State Review
National Council for Adoption
Outlines information on postadoption contact agreements in each State, including whether it is legally enforceable.
The Pros and Cons of an Open Adoption
Provides birth parents and adoptive parents with a list of pros and cons for maintaining connections after adoption, including answers to key questions, wider circle of family support, possible boundary issues, managing unrealistic expectations, and more.