You may be among numerous other Florida families that want to add another member through adoption. After dealing with all of the preliminary steps needed in order to adopt, you have found a woman who wants to give you her child.
However, one of the biological mother's stipulations includes an open adoption. This means that your family and the birth family remain in contact after the adoption. The contact may be just with the biological mother, but may also include contact with other biological family members such as the father, grandparents and other close relatives. Before making any decisions regarding whether this will work for your family, it may help to explore the advantages and disadvantages of an open adoption.
Looking at the positive aspects of an open adoption includes considering the following:
- The child will have a connection to his or her ancestry and heritage.
- You will have access to pertinent medical information that could prove crucial.
- The child can ask questions that most adopted children eventually ask regarding the adoption and biological parents.
- The child won't have to embark on what could be a long and arduous search for his or her biological family.
Having contact with the biological family has numerous advantages. Your child could also enjoy a large support group, which can often make a tremendous difference in a child's life.
If it turns out that your adoption stems from some sort of abuse or violence associated with the biological parents, it would not be in the best interests of the child to have contact with the biological family. This often arises in cases where people adopt foster children. Considering the damage that having contact with the biological parents could cause, this factor alone overrides any of the above advantages.
Other disadvantages of an open adoption include the following:
- The biological family may not be the sort of people with whom you would normally associate.
- The biological family may not respect the boundaries you want to put into place.
- The biological family may expect you to be "perfect" parents and interfere in your parental relationship with the child.
The bottom line is that the biological mother put the child up for adoption for a reason. Where it may provide certain advantages for the child to have contact with the biological family, you may need to put limits on any contact. Even if there may not be any threat to the child, contact can sometimes be more detrimental than helpful. You will need to make this determination on behalf of the child.
Seeking legal help
If you remain unsure regarding whether to agree to an open adoption, it may help to involve a neutral, third party such as an adoption attorney in the process. After assisting numerous other families, he or she can provide you with an objective opinion regarding this decision. Of course, the final choice rests with you, but having as much information as possible could help.
In addition, the adoption process can be complex, time consuming and nerve wracking. You may want to gain a clear understanding of your rights and responsibilities, along with guidance through the process. Considering what's at stake, using whatever resources you have at your disposal could increase your chances of a stress free and successful adoption process.