One of the things you can discuss when you make your adoption plan is whether you want to have contact or receive updates on your child.
Many families share photos and letters describing how the child is doing. Some adoption agencies and states even have specific requirements on when information needs to be shared but you also have the right to ask that information be shared more frequently. If an adopting family does not want that amount or frequency of contact, you have the right to choose another family.
Let’s think about your options.
You Can Talk to the Potential Adoptive Parent(s)
Once you have decided to make an adoption plan for your infant or child, you have to find an Adoptive Family. You can do this through ANLC’s Waiting Families, an adoption attorney, online, by viewing ads in local newspapers or asking others if they know of a family. You can speak to the potential adopting parent(s) over the phone or even use online video chatting. Choosing a family should include discussion of any contact you will want to have during the pregnancy and after they are raising your infant or child.
You Can Share Information With One Another During the Pregnancy
Many adoptive parents have “Adoption Profiles,” “Dear Birth Parent Letters” or “Adoption Books” with photos and a description of who they are and the type of life they offer your child. You can ask to see this material. You may want to share photos of yourself and a letter explaining why you are choosing adoption. You can also include information on the baby’s father and/or your extended family.
You Can Continue Talking to the Adopting Parent(s) During the Pregnancy
You can ask that the adopting parent(s) continue to visit with you during the pregnancy. Some women like the adopting parent(s) to accompany them to the doctor’s visits. You may want them to come and meet your extended family.
You Can Continue to Receive Reports and Photos About Your Infant or Child After they are Living With or Have Been Adopted by the Adopting Parent(s)
Some states and adoption agencies require the adopting parent(s) to send photos and letters regarding the infant or child’s progress and adjustment. These reports are sent to whoever has agreed to act as the mediator of the information or directly to you, if that is agreed upon. Some adopting parent(s) set up Internet or email accounts specifically to share this information.
You Can Continue Talking to the Adopting Parent(s) After they have Custody or have Adopted Your Infant or Child
Through the adoption agency or attorney, you can make arrangements to stay in touch after your infant or child is living with the adopting parent(s). How much and what sort of contact needs to be agreed upon by you and the adopting parent(s).
You Can Continue to See the Adopting Parent(s) After they have Custody or have Adopted Your Infant or Child
Ongoing visitation can be worked out through the adoption agency, attorney or directly with one another. You need to talk about the role you will play in your child’s life. Honesty is important, and everyone should feel comfortable with the open relationship.
You Can Receive Updates On Your Child After the Adopting Parent(s) Have Custody of Your Child
You can make an arrangement for you to receive photos, letters or emails about your infant or child, including how often information will be shared. Information can be shared through the adoption agency, attorney, directly with each other or through an agreed upon mediator.
Know that whatever you agree upon in terms of contact or no contact, as your child grows, he or she will have needs of their own. They may choose to reach out to you and see you, or choose to stop seeing you even if this was previously agreed upon by you and the adoptive parents. While some states have Post Adoption Placement Agreements which outline the type and frequency of contact, not all agreements are enforceable.
If you have decided you would like to have continuing contact after your infant or child is adopted, it is important to discuss this during the adoption process with the adopting parent(s) and gain one another’s trust. While you all want to feel comfortable with the arrangement, remember to keep it focused on the needs of your infant or child.