Being selected by a birth mother is an exciting time for prospective parents. After months of faith and prayer, your dreams of building a family are finally coming true! Of course, there is still a lot of work to be done before the adoption can be completed. One of the most important documents in a Christian open adoption is the contact agreement.
Contact Agreements for Christian Families
Also known as an open adoption agreement, the contact agreement states exactly what type of contact the birth mother will have with the child once her parental rights have been terminated and the adoption is complete. A Christian family may believe that talking about the adoption is enough. Unfortunately, this is not the case.
The contact agreement serves as an official document that helps the adoptive family and the birth mother understand the exact terms of the future relationship. The agreement is specific about the number of visits, phone calls, emails and social media contact. It details the location of personal visits, the length of each visit and even when they take place. Without the contact agreement, the two families may not have a solid understanding of what is expected of each other.
Legal Issues With Contact Agreements
Contact agreements are made through adoption attorneys and agencies. These professionals often have forms that are easily completed. This helps by giving you standard guidelines to follow.
There may be times when birth parents wish to expand the amount of time they spend with the child. If you, as the adoptive family, are not comfortable with this, you can use the contact agreement as a reminder of the previously agreed upon terms. While the biological parent could still take the matter to court, most judges will uphold the agreement even if they are in a state in which it is not legally binding.
Moving to a location that is not easily accessible to the birth mom may prevent some previously agreed upon visitations. This is one reason the contact agreement needs to be somewhat flexible. You can include clauses about the actions that will be taken when and if you relocate. These can be specific or more general. That is up to you to decide.
Another issue that should be considered is the possibility of connecting with biological relatives who are not the birth mother. Biological grandparents sometimes wish to be included in the life of the child. The biological father may wish to build a relationship with the child. The birth mother might have subsequent children. Would you be comfortable with your child having a relationship with biological brothers and/or sisters? The time to decide that is when you are making the contact agreement. With faith, hope and prayer, you will make the right decisions for your child.
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