How Open Adoption is Legally Enforced in Pennsylvania

If you are considering adoption for your baby, you have probably envisioned the life you want for him or her. But have you considered the role you want to play in your baby’s future?

Do you see yourself watching your child’s important milestones? Hearing all about his or her first day of school? Surprising him or her with birthday gifts?

If you choose open or semi-open adoption, any and all of these dreams can become a reality. Here, learn more about open adoption in Pennsylvania with Bierly & Rabuck.

What does open adoption mean?

Openness in adoption refers to the level of contact shared between adoptive families and birth parents during and after the adoption process. Because every adoption relationship is different, it can be difficult to provide a single open adoption definition. Instead, you can generally define open adoption in one of two ways: fully open or semi-open.

– What is an open adoption? Fully open adoptions often involve the exchange of identifying information, including last names and personal contact information. In this type of adoption, birth parents and adoptive families communicate directly and often manage their relationship independently of an adoption professional.

– What is a semi-open adoption? In semi-open adoption, adoptive families and birth parents often exchange pictures, letters or email without sharing identifying information. These relationships are often mediated by an adoption professional, who acts as a liaison to ensure each party’s personal information and privacy are protected.

As a woman considering adoption, you can determine what type of relationship you want to have with your baby’s adoptive parents before and after placement. The attorneys at Bierly & Rabuck will ask you about your contact preferences early during the adoption process; this will help us find the perfect adoptive family who is looking for the same type of relationship with you.

What is open adoption like in Pennsylvania?

Whether you are interested in open or semi-open adoption, Bierly & Rabuck can help you negotiate a Post Adoption Contact Agreement with the adoptive family outlining your desires and expectations for your relationship. These agreements are legally enforceable in Pennsylvania, meaning that if a family fails to meet their obligations as outlined in the contract, a judge can order their compliance.

Increasingly, birth mothers and adoptive families are choosing to communicate directly in fully open adoptions. However, if you prefer more privacy with a semi-open adoption, Bierly & Rabuck can be the liaison to mediate your post-placement contact, exchanging pictures and letters for you to protect your identifying information. This arrangement will be included in the legal contract filed with the court.

Post Adoption Contact Agreements are voluntary and must be agreed upon and filed with the court prior to finalization. Bierly & Rabuck can explain these post-adoption agreements in more detail and help you develop a plan that you are happy with, whether it includes periodic picture and letter updates, phone calls, emails, in-person visits, or other forms of post-placement contact.

Open Adoption vs. Closed Adoption

Aside from open and semi-open adoption, there is a third type of adoption relationship: closed adoption.

Closed adoptions typically do not involve the exchange of identifying information with the adoptive family, and very limited contact, if any, following the birth of your baby. Some birth mothers choose closed adoption because they are seeking greater privacy, or because they feel it will be easier for them to find closure in a fully closed adoption.

Every birth parent is different, and it is entirely up to you to decide between open vs. closed adoption. Women who choose closed adoption will still be in control of their adoption plan and can make important decisions through each step of the adoption process, including choosing the adoptive parents, planning their hospital stay, and more.

However, it is suggested that every prospective birth parent consider some level of post-placement openness. There are many open adoption stories and open adoption facts suggesting that these types of relationships have overwhelmingly positive effects on all members of the adoption triad, including:

– enabling you to get to know adoptive parents before placement, which may help you feel more confident and assured of your adoption decision.

– providing you with a sense of closure and helping you grieve in a healthy way.

– giving you the opportunity to answer your child’s adoption questions directly, remind him or her of your love, and help them understand their adoption story.

– promoting a more positive and healthy view of adoption and improved self-esteem for your child.

– allowing you to communicate important, updated family medical information that may impact your child.

– ensuring you always have the peace of mind that your child is growing up to be happy and healthy.

– creating meaningful, lifelong relationships, not only with your child, but also with members of his or her adoptive family.

Whatever type of relationship you want to have with your child and the adoptive family after placement, Bierly & Rabuck can provide the services and support you need to make that happen.

With open and semi-open adoption, placement is not the end of your relationship with your child; it is just the beginning. To learn more about open adoption in Pennsylvania, please contact Bierly & Rabuck for free, no-obligation adoption information.