A Growing Interest in Open Adoption
The biggest trend in adoption in recent years is the move toward open adoption, which involves the hands-on participation of the placing birth parent(s) in selecting the family who will adopt the child. In addition, open adoptions frequently involve ongoing post-placement contacts and communications between the placing birthparent(s) and the adopting family. This can include letters, photos, emails, phone calls and even, in some cases, visits. The types and frequency of post adoption contacts vary greatly from case to case, depending on the desires of the parties.
It is important to remember that adoptive parents are the legal parents of their adopted child. Open adoption is not co-parenting or shared custody. Rather, open adoption is a recognition that the placing birthparent(s) have a legitimate and deeply felt need to be involved in the process of selecting adoptive parents for their child, as well as to know, after the adoption placement has been made, that their child is in a good home with a loving family.
At Schmiesing, Blied, Stoddart & Mackey, our lawyers have significant experience in helping to create and document open adoption settings which are satisfactory to all parties. Contact us at our main office in Orange County, California, to find out more about open adoption options.
Exploring Enforceability of Agreements
Under California law, it is now possible to create written "post-adoption contact agreements" which are incorporated into the adoption court paperwork. There are pros and cons to these agreements. At Schmiesing, Blied, Stoddart & Mackey, our attorneys will fully acquaint you with the legal consequences of post-adoption contact agreements, and we will counsel you on the best ways to approach good-faith arrangements.
Working With Adopting Parents
At Schmiesing, Blied, Stoddart & Mackey, we can help you adopt a child from within California (intrastate adoption), from another state (interstate adoption) or — working with licensed agencies — from another country (international adoption).
We will represent you in all court proceedings involved in the adoption process, including the termination of the natural parents' parental rights and the legal finalization of the adoption.
In addition, we will also assist you in obtaining an adoption home-study, putting together adoption search materials, and searching for the adoption placement setting that is right for you. We can help you in meeting and bonding with a placing birthmother (and the birthfather in some instances), ensuring that the birthmother receives counseling and signs the appropriate adoption consent documents, contacting and interacting with the birthfather as appropriate, and creating and documenting post adoption placement contacts that you are comfortable with.
Working with Birthparents
At Schmiesing, Blied, Stoddart & Mackey, we also devote a considerable portion of our practice to assisting and working with women who are expecting a child and interested in finding out more about adoption. We emphasize the need for counseling and, when appropriate, involvement of the birthmother's family, in making an informed decision regarding adoption. We do not assume that adoption is the correct option in every instance. Rather, we recognize that every setting is unique and different. We assist in providing the knowledge and resources that are vital and important to making a good decision regarding adoption.
If you are expecting a child and are interested in your adoption options, please visit our separate adoption web site for pregnant women and teens. If you are pregnant, there is no cost to you to meet with our firm.