Q: “Are Post Adoption Contact Agreements (PACAs) enforceable? I’m worried the adoptive parents won’t keep me updated.”
A: In some states, adoptive parents and birth parents sign an agreement called a “Post Adoption Contact Agreement” that is filed with the adoption and becomes a legal, enforceable part of the adoption. However, in other states, it isn’t recognized as a legally binding contract.
The best way to truly ensure you have an open adoption, whether or not your state enforces PACAs, is to build and develop a relationship with the adoptive parents you choose.
Getting to know them before the adoption and having an open conversation about what you want for future contact will be the basis for a good relationship in the future. That conversation is also an easy way to express your expectations and learn about theirs. For example, if you are open to visits and the adoptive parents want just to share annual updates via email, it may not be a good match.
There needs to be an agreement and meeting of the minds (and hearts!) before the adoption, or any PACA, whether enforceable or not, is simply not going to work the way you expect it to.
It would be best if you were open and honest with your adoption professional about this too. At Lifetime Adoption, we believe strongly in open adoption. To us, this means that the birth parent or expecting mother is able to talk about the type of contact she wants in the future.
All Lifetime families are ready and eager to have an open adoption with you. With Lifetime, you can choose things like:
- Letters and pictures
- In-person visits
- Connecting via social media
- Phone calls
- And more!
Your Lifetime coordinator will help you work out what you desire and ensure that you and the adoptive parents are all on the same page. She will help you with a post adoption contact agreement if you choose – one that both you and the adoptive parents will sign. And, anytime in the future, Lifetime will be here for you if you need help getting updates or making modifications to your hopes for future contact.
At the heart of open adoption is what is best for the child, and studies have shown that being upfront about the contact and the adoption story is definitely best for most children. Adopted children who know who their birth parents are and why they were placed for adoption tend to have higher self-esteem and a sense of identity.
We believe that the heart of a birth mother is also best served by the knowledge that her child is happy, healthy, and living the life she hoped they would live. That’s why Lifetime values the connection of open adoption and will ensure that you have the opportunity to receive the future contact you wish.
So while the legal enforcement of a post adoption contact agreement may vary from state to state, choosing an adoption professional to work with that values and stresses the absolute importance of open adoption is key to making sure that you have the open adoption you want.
We are here for you today and in the future.
Questions about post adoption contact agreements and how they may work for you? Call or text Lifetime today at
As Vice President of Lifetime Adoption, Heather Featherston holds an MBA and is passionate about working with those facing adoption, pregnancy, and parenting issues. Heather has conducted training for birth parent advocates, spoken to professional groups, and has appeared on television and radio to discuss the multiple aspects of adoption. She has provided one-on-one support to women and hopeful adoptive parents working through adoption decisions.
Since 2002, she has been helping pregnant women and others in crisis to learn more about adoption. Heather also trains and speaks nationwide to pregnancy clinics to effectively meet the needs of women who want to explore adoption for their child. Today, she continues to address the concerns women have about adoption and supports the needs of women who choose adoption for their child.
As a published author of the book Called to Adoption, Featherston loves to see God’s hand at work every day as she helps children and families come together through adoption.