What is A Post-Adoption Contact Agreement?


A post-adoption contact agreement (sometimes referred to as an open adoption contract) is a voluntary contract between the adoptive parents and birth parents that outlines contact between them once the adoption is finalized.

It is important to know and keep in mind that post-adoption contact agreements are not legally enforceable in all states. In states that recognize post-adoption contact agreements, you must file them with the court at the time of finalization of the adoption. However, even if you live in a state that doesn’t enforce post-adoption contact agreements, it is still recommended that you have a post-adoption contact agreement if you are planning an open adoption.

What are the benefits of having a post-adoption contact agreement?

There are several reasons it is suggested that you have a post-adoption contact agreement. As you are planning your open adoption with the adoptive parents you have chosen, writing this agreement can be helpful because it gets all of you on the same page regarding contact after the adoption. If you begin to have trouble agreeing with the adoptive parent regarding contact once the adoption is finalized, then you may realize that this is not the right adoptive family for you. It is also helpful to have a post-adoption contact agreement because if any problems should arise post adoption you can all look back at this contract and see what was agreed upon.

What are the cons to having a post-adoption contacts agreement?

The biggest con would have to be that a post-adoption contact agreement is not legally enforceable in all of the United States and in the states it is enforceable in it is very difficult and often very costly to enforce.

Who writes a post-adoption contact agreement?

The adoption agency, adoption attorney, or other adoption professional that you are working with will assist you in writing your agreement. However, before you meet with them and the adoptive parents to write this agreement give some thought to what you want out of your open adoption and jot down the things that are very important to you.

What should be included in a post-adoption contact agreement?

You’ll want to include anything regarding contact once the adoption is finalized. This is your post-adoption contact agreement and it’s tailored to fit your personal adoption situation. Some people get very detailed in their post-adoption contact agreements while others are a little more vague.

Below are some suggestions regarding contact that you may wish to think about and consider adding in your post-adoption contact agreement.

  • How often visits will take place
  • Where visits will take place
  • How long visits will last
  • Who can attend visits
  • How often photos and updates will be provided
  • If you are allowed to share photos on social media
  • How photos and updates will be provided (through mail, email, a private blog, social media, etc.)
  • Social media access (Will you be Facebook “friends” with your child’s adoptive parents?)
  • What your child will call you
  • If you are allowed to send gifts and when it is appropriate to do so
  • Promise of all parties to update the others should they move, change their phone number, etc.

Lastly, it is also suggested that you leave some room for flexibility in your post-adoption contact agreement. You will not know exactly how you will feel later on down the road. While you may think that you want two visits a year you may find that you actually want a couple of more so try and leave some room for flexibility.