What is Open Adoption in the State of Arizona?
The state of Arizona does not have a standard definition for open adoption. The law allows for birth parents and adoptive parents to work out terms and put them in a legally binding contract about how communications will work between parties after the adoption is completed. Both parties must understand the time frame in which the birth parent has the right to withdraw their consent per A.R.S.§ 8-107.
Due to the extensiveness of these contracts, it is always recommended that both parties seek council from an Arizona attorney who specializes in family law matters.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of Open Adoptions
If the birth parent of the child and the adoptive parents choose to seek a legally-binding contract that reflects open adoption, there are advantages to this. Some people may not want to have any contact with the birth parent or vice versa, which can make the adoption process a lot easier. Having an attorney available for both parties can make the contract drafting process a lot easier. Neither party should enter a contract until they have had legal representation read it over.
Advantages of Contact with Biological Parent(s)
There are several advantages to being able to speak openly with the biological party about the adoptive child. These advantages include:
- When the adoptive and biological parties are in contact, the child’s health history can be more complete for doctors. In the case of closed adoption, the adoptive family only knows the health issues listed in the file. But with open contracts, these questions that will arise in the child’s health history can be accurately answered.
- At some point in an adoptive child’s life, they begin to question why they were put up for adoption. These children want to know more about their biological family, even though they love their adoptive ones. The lines of open communication between the parties can help better answer any questions the child may have, giving them more peace about the entire situation.
- Ability to Contact
- There will come a time when the child may want to meet or simply have contact of their own with their biological family. In an open adoption contract, this can be facilitated because both parties know who each other are. It may be in the contract though that contact cannot be made until the adoptive party says it is okay or the child reaches a certain age.
Disadvantages of Contact with Biological Parent(s)
One of the biggest hurdles to overcome in contracting open adoption is finding common ground between the two parties. The biological party may want more communication than the adoptive party is willing to give. In most cases, though, the reason for open adoption is so that the child has the option of finding the parent later in life if they want to. Most parties settle with letters and pictures until the time is right for phone calls to begin.
Since most of these adoptions are for the child to have answers later in their life, it may be that the child doesn’t want to know the biological party. In these cases, the adoptive family won’t force the child, but they can still provide updates about them until the child is old enough to make the decisions themselves.
Hiring Legal Representation
In the state of Arizona, both parties in open adoption proceedings should hire an experienced family law attorney. Contracts that are drawn up by the parties need to be reviewed to ensure that no legal rights are being infringed upon with the documents. If you or someone you know is considering open adoption in the state of Arizona, make sure that they have an experienced family law attorney on their side.
Click here for information on relocating with child after divorce in Arizona.