Couples seeking to adopt a child in Texas have three options about how the adoption is structured: confidential, semi-open, and open. While open adoptions may not be a good choice for everyone, they can be rewarding for all involved parties, especially the child. When all the details of this type of adoption have been discussed with experienced adoption lawyers, an open adoption agreement may be a good choice.
Before making a decision one way or another, adoption attorneys stress the importance of birth parents and adoptive parents understanding the details of an open adoption arrangement.
What Is An Open Adoption?
In an open adoption, the birth parents and adoptive parents discuss the arrangement openly, whether dealing through an agency or working individually with adoption lawyers. The identities of both parties are open during the discussion stages and the two families may stay in close contact after the child is born.
A plan that documents the degree of openness is agreed upon front. Then according to this plan, the birth and adoptive parents may visit with each other and get to know each other, sometimes even forming an extended family relationship. If the goal of doing what is best for the child is paramount, adoption attorneys find that an amicable agreement can be reached to serve the needs of both sets of parents.
Why Consider An Open Adoption?
There are quite a few reasons why a family would consider an open arrangement. Birth parents can gain a better sense of who will be raising their child, which can provide an important sense of security for them. They can also observe the raising of the child and in some cases, form a relationship with the child.
Adoptive parents commonly feel more secure in understanding the situation surrounding their adopted child and in knowing they have become a critical part of that child’s life. They will also have the ability to answer the inevitable questions that could come up after a child has been told that they were adopted.
Open arrangements provide children with the benefit of having the security of their adoptive family while retaining the identity and access of their own personal history that comes with this open relationship.
Important Points to Know About Open Adoption
While an open adoption can be a wonderful arrangement between two families to benefit the life of a child, adoption lawyers stress the importance of both parties understanding the legality of the arrangement and limitations that exist.
Birth parents in Texas must wait 48 hours from the time an arrangement is agreed upon to relinquish their parental rights; once they do, those rights are irrevocable. Unknown or missing fathers have certain parental rights that protect them. To receive that protection, they must file a request within the first 31 days after the child is born.
Texas family code does not recognize post-adoption agreements. In the event that the agreement to maintain contact is not upheld, agencies will normally try to encourage reestablishment of contact, although there is no legal recourse. In the end, everything revolves around the desire of both families to do what is in the child’s best interest.
Texas adoption attorneys know that an open adoption can be a favorable alternative to the conventional closed arrangement where everything is done anonymously. An open agreement allows for many positive things that will ensure the child is raised in a favorable environment and is surrounded by many people who love him or her. Most importantly, it gives birth parents and children a chance to still have some sort of relationship even though the birth parents made an important decision to do what they felt was best for their child.
In the right circumstances, open adoption agreements arranged with the assistance of experienced adoption lawyers can be the best of both worlds for everyone involved, especially the involved child.
Foreman Family Law, PLLC
309 North Washington Avenue, Suite 12
Bryan TX 77803