Adopting a child can be a joyous occasion. After all, you’re giving a child a safe and stable home that they may not otherwise have, and your household is filled with love and support. With that said, the process of adopting a child isn’t always easy. This is especially true in many foster care cases, where the child’s biological parents are fighting to retain their parental rights. This can result in a lot of conflict between the foster parents and the biological parents, with the child stuck in the middle.
If you want to protect the child as much as possible, you may want to consider how to effectuate the adoption with as little conflict as possible. One way to do so is to negotiate consents to adoption and a post-adoption contact agreement.
What is a post-adoption contact agreement?
A post-adoption contact agreement is a written arrangement whereby the child’s biological parents agree to consent to the foster parents’ adoption of the child in exchange for having some sort of contact with the child once the adoption is finalized. The agreement can be tailored to suit the parties’ needs and can include any of the following forms of contact:
- In-person visitation
- Phone calls
- Letter exchanges
- Photos of the child
- Periodic updates about the child to the biological parents
- Gifts from the biological parents to the child
Again, the agreement can include whatever the parties agree is best for the child.
Once everyone signs off on the arrangement, it is filed with the court, which the biological parents can then seek to enforce once the adoption is finalized.
What are the benefits of a post-adoption contact agreement?
There are a lot of benefits to engaging in negotiations about and finalizing an agreement on post-adoption contact. For example, the child is able to retain some connection to their biological family. This can provide the child with a greater sense of security and self-identity, and it may even allow the child to develop a stronger network of support far into the future.
Additionally, agreeing to adoption consents and post-adoption contact can speed up the adoption process considerably. It can also reduce tension and leave you and the child’s biological parents on the same page and with a common understanding.
What if there isn’t adherence to the post-adoption contact agreement?
Adoptive parents are required to abide by the post-adoption contact agreement. If they don’t, the biological parents can ask a court to enforce the terms of the agreement. If, on the other hand, the biological parents fail to adhere to the terms of the agreement, the entire agreement may be invalidated, thereby leaving the biological parent without legal recourse to secure contact with the child.
This is especially true if, as is the situation in most cases, the post-adoption contact agreement has a sunset provision that specifies that the agreement will go away if the biological parent fails to live up to their obligations.
Allowing an attorney to help you navigate your adoption case
There can be a lot of tension as you try to navigate your adoption case. But if you want to protect your interests and the child, you need to know how to effectively address all of the various issues that you’re facing. This can be stressful, but there are things that you can do to position yourself for a successful outcome. That’s why we encourage you to discuss your circumstances with a family law firm that will know how to advocate on your behalf.