Seeing Advantages in Open Adoption

A recent news article features great commentary from adoptive parents, a birth mother, and adoption professionals regarding open adoption.

102114.F.FF_.ADOPTIONTRIAD4An article written by Tracy Frank entitled “Open relationships in adoptions more at the forefront” was published in the 12/29/14 edition of the Grand Forks Herald. You can find a link to the article here: “Open Relationships in Adoptions More in the Forefront”

The article brings up some important things to remember and understand, including:

  • Most open adoption plans involved the birth family selecting the prospective adoptive family prior to the birth of the baby. This is an important part of the process, as it gives the birth family much deserved input and control of the adoption plan.
  • The birth family and the prospective adoptive family work cooperatively to negotiate an open adoption plan that will guide their communications and interactions in the years ahead. Many states have legally binding open adoption agreements. In New York State, this is referred to as a PACA (or Post Adoption Contact Agreement). Other states do not have legally binding open adoption agreements, meaning that the specific arrangements regarding the open adoption are negotiated and agreed upon by both the birth family and the adoptive family, but they are not legally binding.
  • As respected adoption expert and author Jim Gritter so eloquently says, “although open adoption involves a set of observable behaviors, it is better understood as a set of attitudes. Open adoption only comes fully alive when it is founded on sincere care and mutual respect. When attitudes are positive and birth families and adoptive families work cooperatively and sacrificially on behalf of the children, the results can be extraordinary.”
  • Sensationalized media accounts of unusual adoption situations don’t do open adoption justice, as the majority of what makes open adoption occasionally challenging relates more to logistics than anything else.  For example:
  • “What dates and times work best for all parties involved for an open adoption telephone conversation?”
  • “The adoptive parents are Facebook users…and so am I. I wonder if they’d be willing to create a Facebook page that would allow us to share pictures of and information about the baby?”
  • “Where is the best place for an open adoption visit to transpire?”
  • “We’re going to be vacationing in the birth family’s home state this summer – I hope they’re going to be around for a visit the week we’re going to be there.”

These are often times the biggest challenges families will face when it comes to open adoption, and as Jim Gritter also says, “most of the research to date suggests that participants are very satisfied with the way their arrangements are working.”