An open adoption is one in which the birth mother and the adoptive parents share information and there is some continuing connection between the birth mother and the child after the adoption. In Arkansas, arrangements for an open adoption can be very flexible. For the success of the adoption, it’s important to plan your open adoption from the beginning.

Choosing open adoption is a selfless and courageous decision. It allows you to provide a loving home for your child while remaining connected to their life story. Planning an open adoption requires careful consideration, open communication,and a commitment to building healthy relationships for everyone involved.

The first step to plan your open adoption

First, the expectant mother and the adoptive parents both decide what they want from the adoption: the amount of contact, whether the adoptive parents will be present for the birth, how much contact the birth mother will have with the new adoptive family, and any other aspects of the adoption that are important to the individuals.

Open adoption agreements vary in their level of openness. Some birth families and adoptive families choose ongoing communication through letters, emails, or phone calls. Others might opt for occasional updates with photos or videos, while some may have in-person visits at designated milestones. The key is to establish an agreement that feels comfortable and sustainable for all parties involved.

For the expectant mother, these choices may require some introspection. Why are you choosing open adoption? What kind of relationship do you envision with the adoptive family and your child? Understanding her own expectations and desires lays the groundwork for open communication with others.

The adoptive parents should also give serious thought to their expectations. There may be a temptation to think about what kind of open adoption plan will appeal to an excpetant mom and encourage her to choose you as the adoptive family for her baby, but decisions about the adoption lan will affect your future lives. Take time to think seriously about what will work best for you.

Decision time

Your adoption professional will consider the desires of both expectant mothers and hopeful adoptive parents. Once they have found a good match, they will share the information about the adoptive families with the expectant mother. Birth mothers have the right to choose the adoptive families they believe will be the best fit for their babies. Adoption professionals do their best to match families that will be able to agree on an open adoption plan.

Once information has been shared, you may choose to meet in person. Discuss your expectations for the level of openness, frequency of communication, and how you envision future interactions with the child. Bother sides should be open to the other parties’ preferences and concerns as well.

Creating a written agreement

With the help of your adoption attorney, formalize your open adoption agreement in writing. This document should outline the terms of communication, potential visits, and exchange of information. It’s a safeguard for everyone involved, ensuring clarity and reducing confusion in the future.

However, the relationship may evolve over time. As the child grows, he or she may have preferences which should be considered. Some adoptive families grow close to the birth mother and consider her part of their family. An open adoption agreement should be as clear as possible, but there can be room for adjustment if circumstances change.

Support is essential

Open adoption can be emotionally complex for everyone involved – birth parents, adoptive parents, and the child. Heimer Law has the experience, training, and expertise to help navigate the process. Call or fill out our simple inquiry form for a free consultation.

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