In our last post, we began looking in a general way at the adoption process here in Washington. As we noted last time, each adoption case involves its own unique issues, even if the general process and goal is the same. Having an experienced attorney to guide one through the process can help ensure that everything goes as smoothly as possible.
For one thing, an attorney is necessary to finalize the adoption itself to ensure paperwork is filled out properly and that parents are represented in court. An attorney can also be important to have in cases where birth and adoptive parents want an open adoption agreement.
An open adoption agreement is one in which there is open communication between adoptive parents and the birth parents. In these cases, birth parents may be able to send and receive cards and letters, pictures, phone contact, and sometimes visits. Open adoption does not change the legal relationship between the child and the adoptive and birth parents, but simply allows the communication to take place.
Open adoption can work well in some cases, but not so much in others. It may be a difficult thing for birth parents, as well as the child. This is why Washington law only permits open communication if it is in the best interests of the child. Courts may allow it in cases where it is in the child’s best interests to maintain a relationship with the birth parents or other family members, or to allow the child to process through the adoption better.
Whether or not a child is able to benefit from open communication depends on his or her age, personality, the relationship he or she has with the birth parents, and various other factors. An experienced attorney can help parents to craft a workable adoption agreement, and can help enforce it in the event that boundaries are crossed.