What is an Open Adoption?
The term "open adoption" is not well defined. It means different things to different people. And since the laws in each state regarding open adoption are very different, it also means different things in each state.
Generally, open adoption means that there will be some form of contact between one or both of the birth parents and the adoptive parents and/or child even after the adoption is finalized.
In the past, most adoptions were "closed," which usually meant that the birth parents and the adoptive parents never met each other, or had knowledge of the others' identity. Additionally, since adoption records were usually sealed, there was no way for them to ever find out in the future.
But attitudes have changed a great deal. Many people now see a positive value in some continuing contact between parties after the adoption is finalized. In Virginia as well as other states, it's now common for adoptive parents to agree to provide a picture of the child and a short statement as to how he or she is doing to the birth mother once or twice per year at the very least. Sometimes open adoption means actual visits between the birth mother and the child, although this is less common.
If you have further questions about open adoption in Virginia, please email me at [email protected], or call 703-361-5051 to schedule a free initial appointment. Adoption appointments can be held over the phone or in person at my Fairfax or Manassas office locations.