Post-adoption contact agreements (PACAs) are voluntary contracts between a child’s biological and adoptive parents. A PACA allows the biological parent(s) to maintain contact with the adopted child after the termination of his or her parental rights and the child is officially adopted.
PACA negotiations occur after an adoption settlement and add an additional, legally enforceable agreement regarding communication rights to an existing open adoption arrangement.
What does a post-adoption contact agreement involve?
These contracts often include visitation and contact rights for the biological parent(s) and permit the sharing of information about the child, his or her biological parents and the adoptive parents between all involved parties.
A PACA confirms the details of parental contact, including the nature of communication, the duration and the frequency. Birth and adoptive parents enter into these contracts to establish birth parents’ rights to send emails, letters, texts, phone calls or exercise visitation with the adopted child.
PACAs also grant contact between the adopted child and birth or adoptive relatives, including grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles and siblings.
How does a post-adoption contact agreement benefit the adopted child?
PACAs receive approval through the courts when they are in the child’s best interests. In many instances, children adopted from the foster care system have relationships with existing relatives in which they have formed strong attachments.
Some adopted children may benefit from PACA terms through increased access to cultural and social experiences and relationships that can help them understand their history and identity. Connections between all parents can also bring in a larger number of caretakers for the adopted child, which can help adoptees process complicated feelings and facilitate acceptance with regard to their family circumstances.