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The Pros and Cons of Open Adoption

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Adopting a child is a life changing decision, with a variety of factors to consider and numerous details to attend to. One of these is deciding the type of adoption you want. In a closed adoption, the adoptive parents have no contact with the birth mother or father, and may not even be aware of personal details about them, such as their names, ages, or their family history. In an open adoption in Florida, many of these details are revealed and it is up to both the adoptive parents and the birth parents to determine the amount of contact they want before and after the child is born.

Advantages of Open Adoption in Florida

While state laws vary when it comes to open adoptions, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Child Welfare Information Gateway advises that most allow for varying levels of ongoing contact and communications between birth parents and the adoptive family. This includes during the pregnancy, such as when the birth mother takes part in selection of the adoptive parents or when the adoptive couple accompanies the mother at prenatal appointments, as well as after birth, via the exchange of phone calls, letters, or visits.

Open adoption has numerous benefits for the birth mother, the child, and the adoptive parents involved:

  • For the birth mother: Offers a greater sense of control in decisions over placement and the type of parents your child is adopted by, and comfort in being able to maintain a relationship with the parents and child.
  • For the child: Offers tangible links to birth family, preventing the need to search later in life. An open adoption does away with having to tell the child or have them discover later the fact that they are adopted, which can create issues with esteem and self-worth.
  • For the adoptive parents: Offers ready access to important health and background information, increased support in raising the child, and can help eliminate the fear that the birth parent will renege on the adoption contract, or randomly appear later in the child’s life.

Dealing With Potential Disadvantages of Open Adoption

While the open nature of the relationships between the parties in an open adoption is an advantage, it can create a level of uncertainty and cause conflicts during the pregnancy, while being as an intrusion on the new family’s ability to bond after the birth.

Fortunately, under Section 63.0427 of Florida’s adoption statutes, the court does provide guidelines when it comes to open adoptions. Your adoption attorney can assist you in obtaining the following:

  • A court order which outlines the amount and type of communication involved, both before and after birth.
  • Mediation in the event that disputes with the birth parents arise.
  • Modification of agreements or court orders when needed. As the child’s adoptive parents, you have final approval for any changes made.

If you are considering adoption and have questions about the options available or how to proceed, call or contact Hancock & Associates, P.A. online and request a free consultation in our Orlando or Tampa office. Our experienced Florida adoption attorneys can assist you in determining what works best for your family, while making sure your rights and interests are protected.

Resources:

childwelfare.gov/pubPDFs/openadoption.pdf

leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0000-0099/0063/0063.html

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