Permanency v. Biology: Making the Case for Post-Adoption Contact
Capital Law Review, Vol. 37, p. 321, 2008
39 Pages Posted: 26 May 2015
Date Written: 2008
Studies suggest that post-adoption contact with their birth families is in most children’s best interests, especially for transracially adopted and older children. However, neither birth parents nor children have any legal right to contact after the parents’ rights have been terminated. Although birth parents and adoptive parents increasingly enter into post-adoption contact agreements, the enforceability of such agreements is an open question in many states. More importantly, such agreements are rare in cases involving older children adopted from foster care, children who are disproportionately non-white. This article describes the challenges faced by transracial adoptees and their adoptive families and demonstrates how federal law has made it difficult for states to support these families. It illustrates the shortcomings of states’ approaches to post-termination contact and explores whether courts can and should order post-adoption contact in cases where such contact is in the child’s best interests.
Keywords: children, termination of parental rights, post-termination contact, adoption, post-adoption contact, open adoption, transracial adoption, Multi-Ethnic Placement Act
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