As an experienced Long Island family law attorney, I have helped many parents through the emotional experience of giving their child up for adoption as well as helping couples to adopt a child.
Giving Up a Child for Adoption is Emotional, Difficult & Brave
Every parent knows that raising a child is one of life’s greatest responsibilities. In some instances, birth parents are either unable to unwilling to take on this task. This may arise because of financial or mental health limitations, or sometimes because the birth parent had a child at a very young age. The choice to give up a child for adoption can be a very difficult and responsible decision in itself if a birth parent is truly not able to care for a child. For many, this is an extremely difficult and selfless choice. Usually, placement with an adoptive family means that the child will have more security and stability in life – this is the goal of adoption. A birth parent that chooses adoption as the best decision for the child will undoubtedly face some difficult moments as they cope with the decision over the course of a lifetime.
Open Adoption Can Help Ease Stress of Birth Parents on Long Island
Many birth parents that choose to give a child up for adoption wonder whether they can be allowed to have contact with the birth child later on. Adoption laws vary from state to state. In New York, a type of adoption known as “open adoption” is permitted by law. This means that adoptive parents may make an agreement with birth parents so that the child can have contact with his or her biological family throughout their life. These agreements can be enforced in the state of New York.
Open Adoption Must Be In the Best Interest of the Child
These agreements can serve the best interests of the child as it can allow a greater support system to the child. As he or she grows older, the child may have fewer questions about his natural family, and may come to accept his or her unique family situation. Most importantly, the child will be loved and cared for by both his adoptive family and natural relatives. Open adoptions have the potential to be very beneficial for the child and the family, both adoptive and natural, as a whole.
Open Adoption Agreements Must Be Incorporated into Court Orders to be Valid
Open adoption agreements must be incorporated into a written court order to be valid and enforceable. For adoptive parents, it is important to understand that these agreements are legally binding contracts. This means that if an adoptive parent does not allow a birth parent to have contact after an agreement is in place, then the birth parent may bring the adoptive parent to court to enforce the agreement. In addition to proving that an open adoption agreement is in place, the birth parent must also show that the contract continues to support the best interests of the child. Like in child custody matters, courts on Long Island are primarily concerned with the best interests of the child, and adoption matters are no different.
Open Adoption Provides Reassurance to Birth Parents
Open adoptions can provide reassurance to a birth parent who is very conflicted about their decision, and who loves the child but is simply unable to parent them for any number of realistic reasons. The birth parent can rest assured that the child is in the best care possible in a positive and loving environment and does not have to spend his or her life wondering if their birth child is OK. Open adoption agreements can allow for periodic visitation and/or contact between birth parents and birth children, and can also allow for natural grandparents or relatives to maintain contact with the child as well.
Open Adoption Promotes Healthy Family Relationships
The concept of open adoption is to provide for the best interests of the child while also promoting healthy family relationships. In some situations, an open adoption may not be beneficial or appropriate. For example, in situations where a birth parents’ rights were terminated for abuse or neglect, the relationship may not serve the child’s best interests. In the absence of what is known as a post-adoption agreement that allows contact between adoptive child and biological family, courts in New York do not have the authority to permit contact in cases where the birth parents’ parental rights had been previously terminated.
Consult an Experienced Long Island Family Law Attorney if Interested in Open Adoption
The Law Office of Robert E. Hornberger, Esq., PC is experienced in all types of family and matrimonial law matters, from the most straightforward to the very complex, and can help you to navigate any adoption, family law, or divorce concerns. It is important to consult with an experienced, trusted and respected attorney if you face a legal question that affects you or your family. If you have a legal concern related to family law, and you reside in Nassau County, Suffolk County, or any of the five boroughs of New York City, contact the experienced family law attorneys at the Law Office of Robert E. Hornberger, P.C. at 631-923-1910 for a free consultation.
For more information on Adoption, see our Long Island Adoption Handbook.
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