Talking About Repairing Family Relationships

Can Birth Parents Remain In A Child's Life After Adoption Gets Finalized?

by Connie Mitchell

Foster care can be a blessing for all parties involved, but anxiety often arises when a caretaker considers a foster child adoption. One common fear is that the adoption won't go through due to interference from the biological parents. Even if the birth parents are on board with the plan for child adoption, you may wonder what, if any, rights they still have. Keep reading for a quick rundown of post-adoption options, whether you're a seasoned caretaker or simply want to learn more about how to become a foster parent.

Open Adoption

Many adoptive parents decide it's best if the birth parents have some involvement after a child's adoption gets finalized. There's no one-size-fits-all plan for open adoption, but it may include any or all of the following:

  • Updates about the adopted child's life shared at predetermined times, such as quarterly or yearly
  • Phone calls or video chats
  • Verbal communication, including letters, texts, emails, and social media messages
  • Visits once or twice a year, often with the adoptive parents present
  • Visits with biological siblings or other relatives of the birth parents

If you decide open adoption is best for your family, make sure you clearly outline the level of involvement permitted so that all parties understand. You may want to set some boundaries, such as asking the biological parents not to share the details of your foster child's adoption on social media.

No-Contact Adoption

A no-contact adoption, also known as a closed adoption, occurs when biological parents no longer have contact with their children. In this situation, the birth parents have no legal rights to their children. This means they cannot see their children, request their medical information, or receive the kids' educational documents without consent from the adoptive parents.

A no-contact adoption can become an open adoption later in time if the adoptive parents consent. However, it's also possible for adoptive parents to conceal their identities so that the birth parents cannot find them. 

Scheduled Visitation

Some biological parents have scheduled visitation with their children after an adoption is complete. These parents typically have no legal rights to access medical or educational information, but they can still see their kids regularly. This often happens in cases where Child Protective Services gets involved and a family member must quickly learn how to be a foster parent.

Though this situation may seem like an open adoption, it's slightly different. When biological parents willingly give up their rights to prevent repercussions from Child Protective Services, they may still have a visitation schedule established in family court. This schedule is often established via a consent agreement between the parties, then finalized by a family court judge. In many cases, visitation must be supervised by someone approved by the court or adoptive parents.

Child adoption looks different for every family. Consider your options carefully when it comes to keeping birth parents involved, then decide which approach is best for your loved ones.