Your Complete Guide to Open Adoption in Florida
Why Open Adoption May Be Right for You
If you are hoping to continue your relationship with your child and the adoptive family long after placement, then an open adoption in Florida might be just what you’re looking for.
With an open adoption, you can have as much contact as you’re open to
Every open adoption is unique, so you can tailor it to your specific needs
Studies have shown that open adoptions are beneficial for everyone in the triad, but especially for the adoptee
It’s normal to have a lot of questions, which is why we created this guide. Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about open adoption in Florida below. And, remember: Our specialists are always available to answer any other questions you may have about domestic open adoption with our agency when you call us at 1-800-ADOPTION or contact us online.
And if you’re an adoptive parent who is interested learning more about how to adopt, we would be more than happy to answer any of your questions. Click here to learn more about starting your adoption in Florida.
Why is Open Adoption So Popular? [A Brief History of Adoption]
For many decades, the majority of American private adoptions were closed. In a closed adoption in Florida, there is little to no identifying information shared about prospective birth parents with adoptive parents and their adopted child. Sadly, adoption was viewed as secretive for most of American history, and severing all contact between birth and adoptive families was incorrectly considered the most beneficial option for everyone involved.
However, these closed adoptions left birth parents unsure of where the child they placed for adoption was or how they were doing. Adoptees were left with no medical or social history and often had many unanswerable questions about why they were placed for adoption. The lack of information for adoptees in closed adoptions made it difficult for birth and adoptive families to contact each other if one party wished to meet years later.
As these difficulties came to light, adoption professionals began to encourage some form of open adoption for all members of the adoption triad. And, while the pros and cons of open adoption will be unique for every prospective birth mother, it’s obvious that the cons of a totally closed adoption make it an unlikely choice for modern adoption journeys.
What is Open Adoption in Florida Like Today? [And is it right for me?]
Today, nine out of 10 adoptions are at least semi-open. This signifies a healthier approach to adoptions, focusing on a mutually beneficial outcome for adoptees, birth parents and adoptive parents and removing the antiquated social stigmas surrounding adoption.
You may not have any experience with the concept of open adoptions or know much about prospective birth mother rights in open adoption. Fortunately, American Adoptions is here to help.
Here’s what you should know about modern open adoptions in Florida:
Open adoptions are whatever you want them to be. You are in charge every step of the way, and your adoption specialist and the family you choose will respect your wishes. The level of openness lies on a scale, so some adoptions may be very open and flexible, which might include:
Exchanging email addresses, phone numbers, mailing addresses, or whatever you like so that you stay in touch most easily
Direct communication via text, phone calls, Skype, email, letters and more
Family visits when the opportunity arises
Whatever else you both feel comfortable sharing with one another
If you already know that you’re comfortable with an open adoption, you don’t have to wait to start getting to know the adoptive family. You can share as much contact as you’d like before placement. Caitlin was happy to experience this firsthand.
“I feel like we’re closer, whereas some birth parents wait until the last minute and they don’t have the opportunity to get to know their family,” she says. “I got to really get to know them, and not just off of paper.”
Some birth mothers request to have an adoption relationship that lies on the less-open side of the scale, somewhere in between closed and open, which is often called a “semi-open” adoption. These semi-open adoptions often include:
The first names of birth and adoptive parents
Both birth parents’ medical history (if known) to be given to the adoptee and adoptive parents
Mediated communication through American Adoptions, such as letters, photos, emails, or whatever you’re comfortable receiving and/or sending
Every open adoption in Florida is going to be unique, because the relationship between individual birth and adoptive families is unique. Open adoption is about what makes everyone involved feel comfortable, fulfilled and loved. And because they’re so flexible, your open adoption can be modified at any time. So, if you ever decide that you want more or less contact, your adoption specialist can walk you through the process.
In order to “define” open adoption in Florida, you must first ask yourself: What do you imagine for your relationship with your child and their adoptive parents in the years to come?
How Does Open Adoption Work in Florida? [What You Should Know]
Despite the fact that open adoption is a celebrated way to bring families together, there are still many persistent myths surrounding how openness in adoption works. Before you choose this path, it’s important you know the reality of private open adoption — not the few, loud stories of “open adoptions gone wrong.”
Here’s the truth about open adoption in Florida:
Open adoptions allow birth family to see that their child is growing up well-cared for, in a family that loves them.
Open adoption is not “co-parenting” of a child.
Open adoptions create an opportunity for birth parents to have a relationship with their child and their family for a lifetime.
Open adoptions are not confusing for children, as long as they are properly informed from the beginning.
Open adoptions give the adoptee an opportunity to ask birth parents questions about their adoption directly.
Experts confirm that increased openness in adoptions is beneficial to the emotional wellbeing of birth parents, adoptive parents, and most importantly, the adoptee. American Adoptions stands behind this and recommends open adoptions whenever possible, as long as the prospective birth mother is comfortable pursuing one. In addition, our staff is comprised of adoptive parents, birth parents and adoptees. Because of their personal experiences, we are able to better provide guidance to a prospective birth mother during her own open adoption.
For many of our birth and adoptive families, open adoptions have felt much like adding a new branch to their collective family tree!
As Caitlin has told us, “I was never sad about what had happened or anything like that — just that I wasn’t going to be able to hold him and see him,” Caitlin says. “They became my family.
“Knowing that I can be around and be there — I don’t even know how to put it into words… I’m like a cheerleader on the sideline, and that’s more than I could have asked for,” she adds of her open adoption relationship. “He gets this family who can take care of him and do everything I couldn’t, but he can also know that I didn’t just give him away. I had a purpose for him, and it was meant to be.”
Are Open Adoptions Legally Enforceable in Florida? [What to Know about Post-Placement Contact]
While Florida is one of the states that allows post-adoption contact agreements (PACAs) between prospective birth and adoptive families, state statutes do not specify them as being legally enforceable. However, that doesn’t mean that open adoptions in Florida are not successful. On the contrary, with the guidance of an adoption professional like American Adoptions, many birth mothers have successfully stayed in contact with their children and the adoptive parents for years after placement!
We know that thinking of what you want your post-placement relationship to be like can be a little overwhelming. But don’t forget, American Adoptions is always happy to guide prospective birth parents and adoptive parents through the open adoption process. You can learn more about open adoption in Florida now by calling 1-800-ADOPTION or get free information online at any time.
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