When you live in Tennessee and give some thought to adopting a child, you may wonder whether there is potential for the child’s birth parents to remain active in his or her life. An open adoption is one where the birth family, or one birth parent, may maintain contact with the child and his or her adoptive parents after the adoption takes place. A closed adoption means there is typically no additional contact once the adoption formally rakes place.
Per the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services, the state does not have an existing statute pertaining to openness in adoption. That said, some adoptive and birth parents choose to create post-placement agreements that dictate how they plan to handle the placement until the adopted child turns 18.
If you decide as an adoptive parent to have an open adoption, you retain the right to change your mind. Open adoptions and post-placement agreements involve honor-bound commitments, rather than legal ones. This means you maintain the right to change your mind about keeping things open at any time if you feel doing so no longer serves your child’s best interests. If you do decide to limit contact with the birth parent, the birth parent has no legal recourse available.
The child’s wishes
In some cases, a child’s wishes may come into play when deciding whether a Tennessee adoption should be open. How much weight the child’s wishes hold depends on his or her age, maturity level and existing relationships, among other variables.
If you do decide to have an open adoption, you may use the post-placement agreement to cover the type, duration and nature of the future contact between your child and his or her birth parents.