Every adoption is different and experts in family law who have assisted with dozens and dozens of adoptions can help properly guide someone through the process. Let us guide you through the essential information you need to know before adopting.
What is Adoption?
Adoptions, first and foremost, are a legal agreement to give a single person or married couple the legal rights of parenthood over a child, or in some cases and jurisdictions, an adult. Adopted parents have the full rights of parenthood, including physical and legal custody. No more than two people can have these rights over a child. Biological parents almost always completely sever legal ties to their children during adoption proceedings. Still, that doesn’t mean that an adopted child had to grow up not knowing their birth family.
Open vs Semi-open vs Closed Adoptions
Different types of adoptions can be categorized by the amount of communication allowed between birth families and adopted families. Open adoptions allow for identifying contact between adoptive and birth parents and in some cases, even during the pregnancy. Agreements can be made for visitations or other forms of contact, such as phone calls, between birth parents and the child. There are different levels of openness in these adoptions and a Post Adoption Contact Agreement (PACA) may be needed to cement a post-adoption plan that works for everyone involved. Semi-open adoptions permit contact, but only if the contact remains un-identifying. For example, letters and photos may be mailed to the birth parents to give updates on the child. The majority of adoptions in the United States today are open or semi-open adoptions.
Closed adoptions were once the norm and do not allow for contact. Information about the adoption proceedings are sealed away by the court and can make future contact with biological parents very difficult, if not impossible. This can have a psychologically damaging effect on the adopted child and, due to this, is not always the best choice.
Benefits of Adoption
As we have covered, adoption has a lot of rules and regulations. However, once the adoption goes through, the adopted parents get the benefit of a new family member for life. Infertile and LGBT couples, as well as single people, can become parents through the adoption process and participate in the joys of parenthood when they otherwise could not. Most often, opening your heart and home to a new child is a rewarding and selfless decision.
Birth parents can be put at ease knowing their child is in a stable and happy home. In open and semi-open adoptions, they may receive photos and updates to check-in on their child’s life as they grow up. This often brings the comfort that the biological parents made the best decision for the child’s long-term well-being and happiness. Additionally, without the added financial instability a child brings, birth mothers who give their child up through adoption can achieve personal, educational and career goals they may have had to give up on otherwise.
Of course, the children benefit as well. They may grow up in a safer environment surrounded by the love they need to grow into happy adults. Statistically, adopted kids participate more in school and are more likely to have health insurance. In an open adoption, children often get two families that love them and don’t suffer from the identity issues common to closed adoptions.
Laws about adoption differ from state to state. What is legal in Virginia, may not be in California. Every adoption is different and it isn’t the perfect option for everyone. Adoption gives the gift of a new addition to your family. Having a legal expert on your side to ensure that everything goes smoothly ensures that addition is protected for life. You should seek professional advice to guide you through the adoption process if you are seriously considering it. Call (909) 726-7112 to schedule a free consultation or visit our website.