Adoption is the beginning of a relationship. In many cases that relationship extends far beyond a connection with a child. Adoption brings together two families: the adoptive family and the birth family. What happens to this relationship after the adoption is finalized? Different adoptive families and birth parents have different agreements about what the birth family’s contact with the child will look like.
What is a post adoption contact agreement?
A Post Adoption Contact Agreement is an agreement that the adoptive and birth families enter into when the birth family signs the papers that give their consent to the adoption. This agreement gives an outline of the ongoing contact that the birth parents and the adoptive family agree to, and it is different in each situation. There is no minimum or maximum amount of contact required. In some cases, the birth family may request photos or updates about the child, and in other cases the birth family may ask for visitation. Post contact agreements are ethical agreements, and in California adoptions these agreements are enforceable in the courts.
Why create a post Contact agreement?
A Post Contact Agreement is a way to shape the future relationship between the birth family, the adoptive family, and the adoptee. It sets out strong groundwork that helps everyone in the relationship know what to expect. For birth parents, having a contact agreement in place is a way of knowing how the child is doing, and it can be reassuring to see that child growing up in a happy and stable home.
Navigating the post contact agreement
A Post Contact Agreement needs to work well for all of those involved, and it’s important to talk about what this relationship will look like before the birth mother delivers the child. That way, you can make sure that everyone has similar expectations for contact.
Like any relationship, there will be some negotiation. What level of contact feels good to the birth family, and what contact feels good to the adoptive family and the adopted child? As you outline what this relationship will look like, it’s important to get help when you need it. This agreement should feel comfortable to everyone, and it’s important to outline your expectations from the beginning. If one party is uncomfortable with the other’s expectations, this might not be a good match.
When you’re navigating the world of post contact agreements, be honest about your expectations. It’s in the child’s best interest to have a contact agreement with clear expectations, so that everyone involved knows what contact looks like and knows what to expect. Outlining a post contact agreement may seem like a long process of finding a middle ground, but as the adoptee grows up, he or she will appreciate the effort that everyone involved put into this relationship.