More and more birth parents are requesting a written agreement, detailing what is agreed upon in regards to post-adoption contact between themselves (and sometimes their family members) and the adoptive parents. Often, both parties may try to have it filed as part of the official adoption in an attempt to have it be legally binding, only to be told by the attorney or agency that such an agreement is not a legally binding or enforceable agreement.
Regardless of whether it is legally binding, this agreement can be a valuable and vital part of a healthy open (or semi-open) adoption. Let’s look at the reasons why…
It sets boundaries from the beginning.
At the very start of the adoption relationship, it establishes some natural boundaries. For instance, if it says that both parties agree to visits once per year, then it is pretty clear that once per year does not mean monthly. These natural boundaries are established based on what the parties have agreed to and it is easy to fall back on them when one party is pushing for more.
Expectations are clear.
When we know what to expect, we are able to move forward in a healthy manner, without worry. For the family, it means understanding the expectations that the birth parents have stated, and on the other side, birth parents can rest assured that their clear expectations will be fulfilled.
It defines the relationship.
When things are left up in the air, there is much room for misinterpretation on both sides. Think about a marriage, it is a defined relationship, but one adoption relationship can differ greatly from another. Thus the need for defined expectations and boundaries.
It prioritizes the child’s needs.
The goal of any contact agreement is to ensure that the best interest of the child is always at the top of everyone’s minds. This should always be the goal of this moral and ethical obligation to ongoing connection between the families.
The contact form that we have included for you is very detailed, caring, and crystal clear. Be sure to review it and have it prepared for use when you are preparing to match with a birth mother.