If you’re considering choosing open adoption for your baby, one of the questions you may have is, “Are open adoptions legally enforceable in North Carolina?” For prospective birth mothers who want to ensure continued communication with their baby’s adoptive family after placement, this is a reasonable question.
Unfortunately, like in many states, a postadoption contact agreement cannot be legally binding in North Carolina, even if it’s something that both parties want. In fact, whether or not a postadoption contact agreement is broken later on has no effect on any consent given for the adoption or the validity of the adoption itself.
However, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t create a postadoption contact agreement or choose open adoption. The vast majority of adoptive parents who choose adoption do so with the full intention of maintaining agreed-upon postadoption contact — and follow through with it for many years to come.
If you place your child for adoption with A Child’s Hope, we can help you not only create the perfect postadoption contact agreement for both parties involved in your adoption but also mediate your open adoption contact going forward. We will do all we can to make sure that you and your baby’s adoptive family are held accountable for your open adoption commitment.
To begin the process of creating a written postadoption contact agreement with one of our social workers, please give our agency a call our Pregnancy Hotline: (919) 971-4396, or Text: Pregnant to (919) 971-4396, or email email@example.com.
If the answer to “Are open adoptions legally enforceable in North Carolina?” gives you pause and you still have concerns about the inability to legally bind an open adoption agreement, that’s completely understandable. Your adoption counselor can explain to you all of the steps she’ll take to make sure your open adoption is successful, including helping you find a family who has the same contact preferences as you, explaining the open adoption process so each party fully understands what’s expected and following up with you and the adoptive family for as long as needed after the adoption process is completed.
However, you can also personally make sure your open adoption remains successful. Here are a couple steps to take:
- Build a strong relationship based on mutual respect. Because an open adoption cannot be legally enforced in North Carolina, your agreement to keep in contact is based on mutual trust — which can be difficult to believe in when you’re signing an agreement with someone you hardly know. That’s why A Child’s Hope highly recommends taking advantage of any pre-placement contact you have with the adoptive parents. This not only gives you the chance to get to know each other and create a friendship, but it is also a good time for you to ask any questions or address any concerns you might have. Being honest in your open adoption will go a long way and help ensure that future contact between both of you will be stress-free and beneficial.
- Be understanding and keep communicating no matter what. Life can be busy for adoptive parents after placement occurs. As they’re adjusting to a new baby in their house, they may fail to make a scheduled contact time. Although it’s usually a mistake and not a sign of malevolence toward you, you may still feel frustrated or angry. However, it’s important to stay calm and try to be understanding of the adoptive parents’ situation. In many cases, they will quickly realize their error and get in contact with you as quickly as possible. If you continue to send them your own correspondence (if that was a part of your open adoption agreement), it will mean a great deal to them and be a huge motivation to keep up their own correspondence no matter what.
- Address any concerns with your adoption counselor. If you’re concerned about your open adoption, it’s best to bring those questions and concerns to your adoption counselor, who can address them professionally and in a non-confrontational manner. It can be tempting to confront the adoptive parents directly, and while this may be possible in a very open adoption, it can also be harmful for a less personal relationship. By bringing your concerns to your adoption counselor, you can make sure that your relationship with the adoptive family stays positive.
Open adoptions will inevitably come with challenges, but it’s important to remember the benefits involved for everyone, especially you and your baby. Remember, most adoptive families are just as excited about open adoption as you are and will always follow through on their promises, whether their open adoption is legally enforceable or not.
To learn more about open adoption through A Child’s Hope, or to start creating a written postadoption contact agreement today, please give us a call or contact us online here.
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Adoption Counselor/Homestudy Supervisor - Triangle
As an adoptive parent I truly have a passion for adoption. There is no greater joy than helping to create a family! I love this job and I love working with adoptive parents as well as the birth parents. When it all comes together it is an awesome experience! Kelly is a graduate of NC State University where she earned a Bachelor of Social Work. She also received her Master of Social Work from the University of South Carolina. Kelly has been working with children, families, in the home and in communities for 18 years. Kelly has been working with birth mothers and adoptive parents for the last 5 years. Besides working, she has a great husband and three fabulous children, Landon, Parker and Ansley. Kelly and her husband adopted their daughter with the help of ACH and feels as though her personal experience helps her relate to other adoptive families.
Sloane completed her undergraduate degree in Human Services Counseling at Old Dominion University and holds a Master's Degree in Social Work from the University of Southern California. Sloane has been working with children, birth mothers and adopting families for more than 10 years. She loves advocating for children and helping women during pregnancy.
Lakisha completed her undergraduate degree in Sociology with a concentration in Social Welfare at Winston-Salem State University. She received her Master of Social Work from Syracuse University. Lakisha has worked with children, individuals and families for more than 12 years. Her experience includes working with at-risk youth, homeless children and families, child mental health, as well as school social work and case management. She is also a long-time basketball fan, a former player and coach. She played at Winston-Salem State University and coached women’s basketball at Elon University and Syracuse University. Lakisha and her husband reside in Alamance County, with their young son.
Jess completed her undergraduate degree in Communication at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown and earned her Master of Arts degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Messiah College. Her professional experience includes case management, education, women’s behavioral health including a focus on pregnant mothers, and working with kinship and domestic adoptive families who have experienced trauma. Jess is a native of central Pennsylvania though loves living in Asheville with her significant other. When she is not working, she is likely caring for her puppy and dog, painting, practicing yoga, camping or planning her next road trip to see family and friends or have an adventure in some new place!
Sylvia is a graduate of Western Carolina University, where she earned a Bachelor of Social Work. She also received her Master of Social Work from the University of North Carolina. Sylvia has been working with children and families for more than 19 years. She enjoys gardening, reading, hiking, and spending time with her husband and three boys. She also loves animals, especially her dog Jazzy.
Nicole completed her undergraduate studies at Chowan University in Psychology with a concentration in Alcohol & Drug Studies and a minor in Criminal Justice. Nicole has provided services to adolescents, teens, college students, the Department of Corrections, the Department of Parole and Probation, the NC Division of Motor Vehicles, the Division of Transportation, and the Department of Defense. She is a Certified Alcohol & Drug Counselor and has been working in the mental health field for 15 years.
Suzanne was the primary pregnancy care manager stationed at Duke high-risk perinatal clinic for 20 years. She has a BS in Social Work at UNC Pembroke and is a licensed School Social Worker. She recently worked as a case manager in a substance abuse disorder residential program for women with young children. Suzanne is a “Durhamite” but has resided in Wake County since graduating. Her biggest accomplishment has been happily raising her 14 yo daughter and 3 poodle mixed pups.