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Open adoptions have benefits and drawbacks in California

In last week's post, we discussed different types of adoptions that are allowed in California. One of those types was an open adoption. These adoptions are considerably different from the traditional adoptions or closed adoptions that many people think of when they think about adoptions.

In an open adoption, the baby's birth parents and the baby's adoptive parents have some communication. The exact communication methods, frequency and topics are decided by both sets of parents.

In some cases, the baby gets to know his or her birth parents in an open adoption. In other cases, the birth parents might receive updates about the child without having contact with the child. Most of the time, these terms are decided during pregnancy, but they are likely subject to change as the child grows.

People who go into an open adoption should make sure they completely understand the terms of the adoption. Birth parents, for example, should understand that the adoptive parents can stop them from visiting the child at any point. Even if the visits are part of the adoption agreement, there is little recourse for them to force the visits.

There are also advantages to an open adoption. The birth parents and adoptive parents can get to know each other. The adoptive family can get answers to questions about medical histories and other facts. The birth family can get updates about the child.

Whether the open adoption is an independent adoption or one through an agency, it is vital that adoptive parents and birth parents understand every aspect of the adoption. This includes not only understanding the legalities, but also the emotional, social and mental impacts the adoption might have on them.

Source: FindLaw, "FAQ about Open Adoptions" Nov. 18, 2014

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