Open Adoption in Texas
What is Open Adoption, and How Does it Work in TX?
Are you interested in having a relationship with your child and his or her adoptive parents after adoption? Then an open adoption may be right for you. Here are the facts behind open adoption vs. closed adoption in Texas:
What You Need to Know About Closed Adoption in Texas
Closed adoptions in Texas provide little to no identifying information about the birth parents to the adoptive family and adopted child. Not so long ago, this was the standard for adoption. It was believed to be most beneficial for everyone involved in an era when adoption was falsely considered to be secretive or shameful.
But closed adoptions meant that birth parents were left wondering if the child they placed for adoption had grown up healthy and happy with a loving family. Adoptees had no medical history to rely on, nor any answers about the circumstances leading to their adoption. The lack of information made it difficult for birth parents and adoptive families to contact one another if they wanted to meet later on in life.
What You Need to Know About Open Adoption in Texas
Today, 90 percent of adoptions are considered “open adoptions.” This is a welcome shift with a mutually beneficial outcome for everyone involved in adoption.
Many people wonder what is involved in an open adoption and have questions about birth mother rights in open adoption. Essentially, an open adoption is whatever you want it to be. They lie on a scale of openness.
“Semi-open” adoptions, for example, fall on the less-open side of the scale and typically only involve the sharing of basic information, such as:
First names of birth and adoptive family members
The medical history of both birth parents (if known)
Communication through American Adoptions, such as letters, emails, photos or whatever you feel comfortable with
A semi-open adoption in Texas allows you to stay in contact with the adoptive family through American Adoptions without having to share identifying information. American Adoptions can mediate contact of a semi-open adoption for up to 18 years.
More open adoptions in Texas might share:
Both parties’ contact information, such as your email addresses, mailing addresses or phone numbers so that you can keep in touch more easily
Direct communication through photos, video chats, text, photos, calls and more
Visits on special occasions like birthdays and holidays
Whatever else you both feel comfortable sharing together in your lives
American Adoptions gives you the opportunity to choose one of these more open adoptions. In fact, all of the families that work through our agency are ready for an open adoption that includes: pictures and letters sent for 18 years, directly or through the agency; exchanging of personal phone numbers and email addresses for direct communication before and after placement; an in-person visit with you and your child after placement; and more. While these are the standards our agency sets, it’s ultimately up to you and the adoptive family to decide how comfortable you feel with varying levels of openness in your Texas adoption.
What is Open Adoption in Texas? (And What it Isn’t)
There are many misconceptions about what an open adoption is. Here are the facts about open adoption in Texas:
Open adoptions DO give your child opportunities to talk with you about their personal history and adoption
Open adoptions DON’T mean co-parenting
Open adoptions DO allow you to have a meaningful relationship with your child and their family for a lifetime
Open adoptions DON’T confuse children about who their “real parents” are
Open adoptions DO let you see your child grow up happy with a family who loves them
Open adoptions have helped birth parents heal post-placement by removing any lingering fears they might have about their child’s happiness after the adoption. Through open adoptions, birth and adoptive families remain connected and a valued part of each other’s lives.
American Adoptions agrees with the recommendations of experts that increased openness in adoptions is beneficial for everyone involved, particularly the adoptee. We recommend open adoptions whenever circumstances allow.
Are Open Adoptions Legally Enforceable in Texas?
Texas is one of the states that allow post-adoption contact agreements (PACAs) between birth and adoptive families. These contracts can help legally enforce the maintenance of contact between the two parties that was originally agreed upon in an open adoption.
PACAS are rarely needed; most adoptive families and birth families are happy to continue communicating regularly without any prompting.
Birth and adoptive families are counseled about the importance of honoring one’s word in open adoption agreements through American Adoptions. If, for some reason, contact is lost and one party is unable to reach the other, we’ll hold any correspondence intended for them for up to 18 years in case they notify us and request to receive that communication and want to get back in touch.
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