Whether you’re a prospective birth parent or adoptive parent, the possibility of contact after an adoption is completed can be equally intimidating and exciting. If you have any reservations about open adoption, you may be wondering if open adoption can be legally enforceable in Kansas City.
Unfortunately, in both Kansas and Missouri, there are no laws making post-adoption contact agreements legally binding. In other words, there will be no legal repercussions if either party to the open adoption breaks their contact agreement, and a finalized adoption will remain valid even if an open adoption contract does not.
But you shouldn’t let this deter you from choosing open adoption. While concerns about broken contact are understandable, the majority of prospective birth and adoptive parents choose open adoption with the full intention of honoring their contact agreement throughout the upcoming years. Each side of the adoption agreement knows how important honest adoption communication will be as the adopted child grows up, and the mutual love they have for this child will play a large role in keeping this communication open.
Although a post-adoption contact agreement cannot be legally binding in Kansas or Missouri, Kevin Kenney highly recommends completing a written one anyway. This written document will help both birth and adoptive parents better understand what expectations there are for the open adoption — and help hold them accountable.
As an experienced adoption attorney in Kansas City, Kevin can help you draft a contact agreement that satisfies both you and the other party of your open adoption. To get started today, give him a call at 913-671-8008 or contact him online.
Still concerned about your open adoption? Here are some things you can do to minimize the chance that birth parents or adoptive parents will break their promise to keep in contact:
- Choose an adoption professional who will mediate your post-adoption communication. No matter how comfortable you are with open adoption, Kevin recommends you use the contact mediation services of an adoption professional. This way, if one party does decrease their communication at a certain point, your adoption professional can step in to find out what’s going on. If you are on the receiving end of the lack of communication, you may feel angry or frustrated — and confronting the birth or adoptive parents in that emotional state can damage your relationship. By leaving that confrontation up to an adoption professional, you can be reassured that the matter will be taken care of in a way that will preserve your open adoption communication in the future.
- Build a relationship based on mutual respect. In many adoptions, you have the chance to get to know the birth parents or adoptive parents before the baby is even born. This is a great opportunity to not only reassure each other of your open adoption commitment, but also a chance to address any fears or concerns you have before the adoption is finalized. Both of you will want what’s best for the child at the center of the adoption, so creating a strong relationship and understanding each other’s lives before the baby is born will make post-adoption contact much easier to maintain.
- Always keep your end of the bargain. When a birth parent or adoptive parent misses scheduled communication, you may feel tempted to do the same. However, for the sake of the child involved, it’s critical that you keep your promise for post-adoption contact. In many cases, when a parent fails to contact you at the agreed-upon time, it’s not in a malevolent attempt to do so; everyone has hectic times in their life, and they simply might be overwhelmed. You keeping up your communication during this time will mean a lot to them, especially if they’re at a difficult point in their life, and will give them incentive to return to their previous contact frequency as soon as possible.
Whether you’re considering an open adoption or are currently part of one, you have the right to answers about your concerns at any time. To receive more information or to get started today with a post-adoption contact agreement, please give Kevin a call at 913-671-8008.