While many people think of adoption as adopting a newborn or infant, there are older children in need of permanent homes. In fact, there are more than 17,000 children in the Arizona foster care system today. Adoptive parents have the choice between an open or closed adoption. Each has its pros and cons, the primary of which is how much contact the adoptive parents would like the birthparents to have with the child.
Whether you’re choosing an open or closed adoption in Arizona, we recommend working with an adoption attorney so that adoptive and birthparents are protected.
Open Adoption in Arizona
Open adoption means the adoptive and birthparents have contact. The extent of that contact is up to the parties involved. Information includes contact information and family and health history and the child having easier access to their birthparents.
Setting clear guidelines as part of the terms of adoption is essential to making open adoption work for both sets of parents.
It often becomes complicated when the adoptive and birthparents differ about the level of communication with the child. Communication may include phone calls, in-person visits, email or letters to birthparents. Although the adoptive parents may choose an open adoption, the child can choose to limit their contact with their birthparents.
Closed Adoption in Arizona
While closed adoption is the more restrictive of the two in terms of communication between adoptive and birthparents and the child, it is also the most common. When a birthparent agrees to a closed adoption, they no longer have a right to communicate with their child or the adoptive parents. While this is an advantage for adoptive parents, it may be more emotionally taxing on birthparents.
Disadvantages of closed adoptions include the child not being able to communicate with the birthparent and having a family and healthy history. Adoptive parents may not have information the child wants or needs about their biological family.
Whether you choose open or closed adoption, there are a number of children available for adoption in Arizona.
Children who can be adopted in Arizona
· Foster Children – These are children whose birthparents have given them up for adoption or whose birthparents have had their rights terminated.
· Foster-to-Adopt – Children are placed with a family with an expectation that the family will adopt them when it becomes legal to do so.
· Independent Adoption – While it may be possible to adopt an infant through an independent adoption, the process can take many months, if not years. Typically there is no counseling for birth parents and the children aren’t eligible for financial assistance for special needs.
While many people choose to adopt an infant or small child, there are thousands of older children (3+ years old) available. They may have been removed from the care of their birthparents or they may have a disability that makes them more difficult to place with an adoptive family.
Transitioning an older child from a foster or group home into an adoptive family can be challenging. A commitment to the child and the utilization of community resources helps many older children move out of foster care and into permanent homes.
To learn more about how Stuart and Blackwell can help your family with adoption, schedule an appointment today!