Post-Adoption Contact Agreements
A post-adoption contact agreement is a written agreement outlining ongoing contact between the adoptive parents, birthparents, and child in an open adoption. Detailed and child-centric, post-adoption contact agreements outline the future frequency of photo exchanges, updates, phone calls, emails, and visits.
Post-adoption contact agreements outline future contact in order to define expectations for both parties moving forward. A post-adoption contact agreement enables both parties to put in writing all of their desires and wishes regarding future contact. Later, if there is any kind of dispute or bump in the road, the post-adoption contact agreement can be referred to for clarity.
Is a Post-Adoption Agreement Legally Enforceable?
Although post-adoption contact agreements are not legally enforceable in all states, it still highly advisable to create one. As the expectant mother considering an adoption plan, the responsibility to build such an agreement will likely fall on you.
A typical agreement can include the number of visits per year, the time of the year such visits may occur (e.g., during specific holidays), as well as when pictures and updates will be exchanged. Even if it is not legally enforceable in your state, having an agreement in place can help you over the years during the adoption, whenever problems or disputes arise. You can refer to the original agreement to learn exactly what terms were agreed upon. Wherever possible, consider allowing some room for flexibility in the agreement because you may not know how you are going to feel once you actually are a birthmother. The best of open adoptions are more like an extended family relationship.
If you live in a state where your agreement is legally binding, an adoption attorney or agency will likely draw up the contract with your assistance. In states where the agreement is not legally binding, anyone (including you) could potentially write it.