What to Know About Having an Open Adoption in Texas
How You Can Maintain a Relationship with Your Child
Are you interested in having a relationship with your child and his or her adoptive parents after adoption? If so, pursuing an open adoption in Texas may be right for you.
This idea can be scary at first. Most women considering adoption are totally unfamiliar with how open adoption works. But, after understanding the idea better, it’s something that many prospective birth mothers are eager to choose. In fact, more than 90 percent of adoptions today involve some level of openness — and it is entirely up to you to decide what that looks like for you and your child.
Here are the facts behind choosing open adoption vs. closed adoption in Texas.
What You Need to Know About Closed Adoption in Texas
In closed adoptions, Texas birth mothers and adoptive families share little to no identifying information with each other. They may not interact much during the adoption process, and they often have no ongoing contact after the adoption takes place.
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. They meant that adoptees had no medical history to rely on, nor any answers about the circumstances leading to their adoption. This 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, and it made it more difficult for adoptees to form a positive self-identity.
Fortunately, prospective birth mothers today have the power to choose the type of relationship they want to have with the adoptive family and their child during and after the adoption process. Some prospective birth mothers still feel that closed adoption in Texas is the best option for them, and this is entirely their choice to make. However, more and more women today are choosing open adoptions in Texas and across the U.S.
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 in Texas. 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. However, most adoptive parents and birth parents today share a more open adoption, which involves direct communication without an agency’s involvement.
These 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
It’s up to you and the adoptive family to decide how comfortable you feel with varying levels of openness in your Texas adoption. However, all of American Adoptions’ families are committed to sharing an open adoption with you, which includes, at minimum, the exchange of pictures and letters, phone numbers, and at least one visit after placement.
You can always speak with your adoption specialist to learn more about your post-placement contact options.
What Open Adoption in Texas is — and What it Isn’t
There are many misconceptions about what an open adoption is. To set the record straight, here are some of 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. Many birth and adoptive parents even come to think of each other sort of like extended family!
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.
However, 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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