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 October 17, 2014 |

Society has changed its views and laws about the roles of Baton Rouge birthparents who choose to forfeit parental rights. In decades past, ongoing relationships among birthparents, adopted children and adoptive parents were nearly nonexistent. Today, at least in many domestic adoptions, open adoptions are the norm.

Closed adoptions sever legal and all other ties between birthparents and adopted children. In the past, adoptive parents commonly used agencies to find children, often without meeting or knowing anything about biological parents. In some cases, children were not told about adoptions and when they were, they had no access to details since court records for adoptions were sealed.

Closed adoption records in most states and under most circumstances are sealed today. However, there has been a dramatic shift away from adoption secrecy. Some states now permit closed records to be unsealed, although access to adoption information can be restricted.

Open adoption laws permit contact among all parties involved in an adoption, provided parents agree to the terms. Adoption in any form equals the loss of parental rights for birthparents. Once those rights are gone, the best interests of a child are determined solely by adoptive parents.

Under open adoption, birthparents may have the right to choose who will adopt their child. Face-to-face meetings may take place between prospective parents and birthparents. Agreements can be made to continue the relationship after a child is born.

According to a federal National Survey of Adoptive Parents, more than two-thirds of private, non-intrafamily adoptions involve open adoption agreements. Less than 40 percent of foster care adoptions are open. Openness agreements and birthparent contact are rare in international adoptions.

It’s important to understand what laws apply to the adoption choices you are considering. Adoption attorneys are prepared to answer questions about adoption concerns for birthparents and prospective parents. Louisiana family courts, as always, will put an adopted child’s needs first.

Source: FindLaw, “Open vs. Closed Adoption” Oct. 15, 2014

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