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OHIO - Open Adoption


Introduction

Open adoption is a form of adoption in which birth parents continue to have contact with the child/adoptive family after the adoption has been finalized. The extent of contact depends on the agreement between the adoptive parents and biological parents.


Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are open adoptions available in Ohio?

A: Yes. The placing agency or attorney is required to tell adoptive parents and birth parents about the availability of non-binding open adoption agreements. If the agency or attorney placing the child refuses to arrange an open adoption, a referral must be provided for an agency or attorney that will arrange an open adoption.
Ohio Revised Code § 3107.62 & 3107.63

Q: What can be included in the agreement?

A: The agreement cannot do any of the following: allow the birth parent to exercise parental control or authority over the child placed for adoption; limit the adoptive parent’s full parental control and authority over the adopted child in any way; deny the adoptive parent or child access to social and medical history or the adoption file; or provide for enforceability.
Ohio Revised Code § 3107.65

Q: Does the court have to approve the open adoption agreement?

A: Yes. The open adoption agreement must be approved by the probate court handling the adoption. However, the court cannot refuse to approve an adoption agreement unless the terms of the agreement are determined to not be in the best interest of the child.
Ohio Revised Code § 3107.65

Q: Is the open adoption agreement enforceable?

A: No. Open adoption agreements are not enforceable in Ohio. All terms of an open adoption are voluntary and any person who has entered into such an agreement may discontinue communication at any time.
Ohio Revised Code § 3107.65

Q: What are the advantages of open adoption?

A: An open adoption enables the child to maintain connections with biological relatives and other important people in his/her life. It also eases the transition for older children by helping to minimize the loss of relationships with birth family and feelings of abandonment. Open adoption allows a child to resolve those losses with facts, rather than fantasies created when no information about or contact with the birth family is available. An open adoption also fosters greater understanding of the child’s social/medical history for adoptive parents, decreases fear of disruption by birth parents, eliminates the need to “search” if reunion is desired by adopted child, and helps resolve the child’s identity formation.

Q: What are the disadvantages of open adoptions?

A: One potential problem related to an open adoption is the pressure placed on adoptive parents to agree to openness or risk losing the child to another family willing to permit openness. In addition, some fear that an open adoption could create the potential for birth parent interference with parenting choices, and could potentially result in court litigation to enforce or modify the agreement.



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