Open Adoption Roundtable #36: Open Adoption Agreements

The Open Adoption Roundtable is a series of occasional writing prompts about open adoption. It’s designed to showcase of the diversity of thought and experience in the open adoption community. We’re now at Open Adoption Roundtable #36.

Write about open adoption agreements. Is there one in your open adoption? What effect does it have on your relationships? If you could go back in time, would you approach the agreement differently?

I’m not sure if I knew about open adoption agreements in 2005/2006. I don’t remember ever talking about them with S. I think the first time I heard of them may have been from Jenna at The Chronicles of Munchkinland, although I was reading book about open adoption right when Jackson was born, and I find it hard to believe they weren’t mentioned there.

I knew about open adoption agreements in 2011. I actually did bring up the subject with Laine. She didn’t want an open adoption agreement. She didn’t think it was necessary. I brought it up at least twice, but both times, she didn’t want an agreement. So, we don’t have one.

Do I wish we did? Well, I’m not sure that it would matter. S basically fell off the face of the earth for a long time. As much as I’m guilty about not sending her timely updates, the biggest reason for that is not knowing if and when she’s getting them. Her situation has gotten somewhat better this year, and because I verbally promised Cassie’s birth parents updates every two months, I’m sending her updates every two months too. An open adoption agreement wouldn’t stabilize her life, and even if it were legally enforceable, what exactly would the penalty be for not sending a Christmas card, for example?

It’s too soon to tell if I wish we had agreements with Cassie’s birth parents. Maybe Laine wishes we talked more often, the way we did before Cassie was born, and an agreement would probably legislate that. However, the agreement wouldn’t take into account if Laine’s phone’s been shut off, would it?

I’m really not sure how I feel about open adoption agreements. I’m glad that this topic has come up, because I’ve enjoyed reading the other responses, which vary greatly from person to person, even those within the same part of the triad.


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