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Written by Renee Hettich
on August 15, 2014

open adoption  Open and semi-open adoption relationships between birth parents, adoptive parents and the adopted child are honored in New York State.


Open Adoption is an adoption where the birth family and adoptive family have an on-going relationship.  The birth parent choses the adoptive family, the two families share identifying information, and they develop a relationship with one another.  The extent of the relationship is defined by the birth parent.  A birth parent can ask to have on-going contact with the adoptive family prior to the child’s birth and after the adoption of the child. All of the choices for openness belong to the birth parent and are agreed upon by the birth parent and adoptive family.


Open adoption relationships are unique to each adoption triad (birth parent – adoptive parent – child) and vary greatly.  The level of openness with the adoptive family depends upon the choices of the birth family.   Most open adoptions are characterized by:

a)     the birth parent(s) meeting and choosing the family for their child

b)    the sharing of identifying information between the birth and adoptive family

c)     the development of a relationship between the birth family and adoptive parents prior to the child’s birth (if possible), and

d)    the maintenance of a relationship between the birth parent, adoptive parents, and adopted child throughout the child’s childhood through pictures, letters and face-to-face visits.   


Semi-Open Adoption is an adoption where the birth family and the adoptive family agree on what identifying information is shared.  For example, the birth family and the adoptive family may only exchange first names or the name of the town in which they live.  The adoption agency would know all of the identifying information for the birth parent and adoptive family, but would hold that information in confidence.  The birth parent may choose to pick a family for their child from family profiles or meetings with prospective adoptive parents.  The birth parent(s) and adoptive family may or may not develop a relationship with each other prior to and/or after the birth of the child (based upon the wishes of the birth parent).   The birth parent may or may not request post adoption contact (e.g. pictures/letters regarding the child’s growth).  Any post adoption contact requested by the birth parent would be maintained through a third party such as an adoption agency.  The wishes of the birth parent determine the degree of openness.


In New York State, Semi-Open and Open Adoption Relationships are protected by the courts.  Any birth family and adoptive family who wish for an open relationship will enter into an agreement called Post Adoption Contact Agreement (PACA).  This is a legal contract that details the post-adoption contact agreed upon by the birth parent(s) and adoptive family.  For example, the Agreement may state how many times the child and the adoptive parents will send pictures and letters about the child’s progress and/or visit with the birth mother until the child is 18 years old. The Post Adoption Contact Agreement is legally binding and court enforceable.  


The possibilities in open adoptions are many and the decisions belong to the birth family.  


Family Connections, Inc., an authorized adoption agency, was one of the first adoption agencies to encourage and support open adoption relationships in New York State.  For the past twenty years the agency has helped birth mothers and birth fathers make adoption choices that are right for them.  The agency respects each birth parent's decision regarding the level of openness.  


The agency only works with prospective adoptive parents who are open to openness in adoption. Click here to see our agency's waiting adoptive parents - all families would be honored to be considered as potential parents for any birth child.  Family Connections supports birth mothers and birth fathers throughout New York State including persons living in Syracuse, Binghamton, Rochester, Albany, Buffalo, Utica, Elmira, Watertown, New York City, and all towns in between.


Anita and Renee at Family Connections, Inc. would be very happy to help you are you consider adoption for your unplanned pregnancy.  Please contact Anita or Renee at 607-756-6574 or 1-800-535-5556 or info@adoptfamilyconnections.org.  All calls and e-mails are confidential and all services are free!  


To learn more about your adoption options please download a Free Guide to Adoption Options below.


Download A Free Adoption Guide  for Birth Mothers


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