What is a Post-Adoption Contact Agreement?
A post-adoption contact agreement (sometimes referred to as an open adoption contract) is a voluntary contract between the adoptive parents and birth parents that outlines contact between them once the adoption is finalized.
It is important to know and keep in mind that post-adoption contact agreements are not legally enforceable in all states. In states that recognize post-adoption contact agreements, you must file them with the court at the time of finalization of the adoption. However, even if you live in a state that doesn’t enforce post-adoption contact agreements, it is still recommended that you have a post-adoption contact agreement if you are planning an open adoption.
After a child/baby is placed for adoption, then what? What does that relationship and contact look like for birth parents and the adoptive parents?
A post-adoption contact agreement, AKA open adoption contract, answers those questions and set expectations after placement.
These agreement ARE NOT legally enforceable in Florida and are not filed with the court. Tammi Driver Law still highly recommends having a post-adoption contact agreement and includes this in your representation.
Why do we recommend a Post-Adoption Contact Agreement?
Simply put, it gets everyone involved on the same page and sets agreed upon and reasonable expectations. If by chance there are issues or disagreements years down the road, this agreement is a road map to refer to and hopefully be used as a guide to continue to fulfill some of the moral obligations as agreed upon prior to placement.
This in theory, is more to protect the birth parents’ desire for future contact and updates but, it also helps inform and set expectations for the adoptive parents going forward.
What is the downside to Post-Adoption Contact Agreements?
The biggest and seemingly only downside is that they are not legally binding or enforceable in Florida and in the states around the US that they are enforceable and binding, it is extremely costly to try and enforce.
In other words, if one of the parties doesn’t hold up their part of the agreement, the only really solution is advocation and having someone help mediate and try and get some cooperation based on the previous agreement.
Do you take care of writing the Post-Adoption Agreement?
An adoption attorney, like Tammi Driver, or an adoption agency facilitates meeting with the birth parents and adoptive parents to understand what each party desires and then drafts and agreement based on that.
A birth parent or adoptive parent doesn’t need to do anything else but answer some questions. It is the adoption professionals job to then compile that into an agreement that you can sign along with placement paperwork.
What is in a Post-Adoption Agreement?
This agreement is tailored to the needs of the birth parents and adoptive parents and may include things like:
• How often visits will take place
• Where visits will take place
• How long visits will last
• Who can attend visits
• How often photos and updates will be provided
• If you are allowed to share photos on social media
• How photos and updates will be provided (through mail, email, a private blog, social media, etc.)
• Social media access (Will you be Facebook “friends” with your child’s adoptive parents?)
• What your child will call you
• If you are allowed to send gifts and when it is appropriate to do so
• Promise of all parties to update the others should they move, change their phone number, etc.
Finally, Tammi Driver Law suggests leaving some flexibility in the agreement as often times things change and a birth parent and adoptive parents may need some minor adjustments. This, again, is about setting expectations and helping both parties understand that the goal is to try and fulfill the spirit and intent of the agreement and it may not be possible to execute every detail along the journey.
Reach out to us if you need help with any and all questions regarding post-placement agreements or your specific adoption questions and needs. You can reach us via chat right here on the site or by calling 727-800-6681.