If you are considering adoption, you have likely heard the term “open adoption.” It is essential that parents fully understand what open adoption is and what it is not before deciding whether it is the type of adoption they wish to pursue if they choose to pursue adoption. The number one fact that parents considering open adoption in Kansas must understand is that there is no legally binding agreement of any kind between birth parents and adoptive parents in a Kansas open adoption. When a parent relinquishes their right to parent their child, they relinquish the right fully and completely, and they have no legal role in the life of their child.
Open adoption is a non-binding concept that contemplates a role for the birth parent in the life of the child through a continuing relationship with the adoptive parents and with the child. The success or failure of an open adoption depends upon the relationship that the birth parents and adoptive parents build with each other. If you would like to have the chance to maintain contact with your child and his or her adoptive parents through open adoption, the best place to set yourself up for success in that relationship is during the process of selecting your child’s adoptive parents. Don’t be afraid to ask tough questions that will get prospective adoptive parents thinking hard about what role they envision for you in your child’s future. Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions that can help you get to know them well enough to develop a sense of whether you would be able to develop a relationship of mutual respect and trust with them. Conversations about open adoption can be truly eye-opening, and you may be surprised at how willing some prospective parents are to include you in their lives as a trusted friend and, in contrast, how some people who claim to favor open adoption seem more distant, as if they would be willing to tolerate you in their lives but not necessarily welcome you with open arms.
If you do choose to pursue an open adoption, and if you find an adoptive parent or couple who appears to have a genuine intent to develop an ongoing relationship with you and include you in your child’s life, that is wonderful. As good as that is, please proceed with your open adoption with the knowledge that there is no legal recourse if the adoptive parent or parents do not follow through with the relationship in the way that they say that they will. In many cases they do, and birth parents develop long-lasting, loving, close relationships with their child as well as the parents who adopted them. Unfortunately, we do not live in a perfect world, and a birth parent may work hard at maintaining a healthy relationship with their child’s adoptive parent only to have the adoptive parents not reciprocate. Likewise, adoptive parents may make efforts to develop a close, ongoing relationship with a birth parent only to have the relationship disintegrate for one reason or another.
Open adoptions can lead to beautiful family relationships when birth parents and adoptive parents pursue them with their eyes and their hearts wide open and pay close attention to what open adoption is and what it is not. If you have questions about adoption, Kansas Adoption Attorney Thomas McDowell can help you. Please call our office today, at (316) 633-4322 to make an appointment for your initial consultation.