Some, but not all, states also have a process for enforcing contact agreements after adoption. In March 2019, Tennessee created for the first time a pathway for legally enforceable contact agreements after the adoption. This law is on you.C.A. 36-1-145. All parties to an ACAP must be identified before it is approved by the court; parties will not be added to the ACAP upon adoption. A more important question for those involved in adoption is what type of contact is covered by a PACA. The short answer is what type of contact the parties are suitable for; exchanges of letters and photographs at an annual visit between the child and members of his or her biological family. Open adoption is an option to facilitate the resolution of contentious termination actions, including children in care facilities, although adoptive parents and children have specific issues related to ACAP. It is difficult to have a constructive relationship with a former adversary, but foster parents and engaged birth parents can make it work. However, a ACAP is not an appropriate solution if a parent is extremely angry, polarized or dysfunctional, or if the presence or voice of the parent “triggers” a traumatized child. After contact agreements are put in place, future contacts will be described to define the expectations of the two advancing parties. A contact agreement after adoption will allow both parties to submit in writing all your wishes and wishes regarding future contacts. Later, if there is some kind of argument or bump on the street, the contact agreement after adoption can be mentioned for reasons of clarity.

A PACA is only part of the adoption. Adoptions are wonderful, complex and difficult. A good family lawyer can help you and your family. While post-adoption contact agreements are legally applicable in a number of states, this is not always the case. If you live in a state where contact agreements after adoption are legally unenforceable, you can still enter into a Good Faith Agreement. Good faith agreements have the advantage of clarifying all expectations about the nature and frequency of contacts after placement. The development of the Good Faith agreement provides parents with birth and adoption opportunities to reconsider, discuss and document their post-mediation contact expectations. Lawyers will also incorporate these expectations into a written document. This minimizes or eliminates misunderstandings about the type of post-placement relationship. Even if good faith agreements are legally unenforceable, the importance of compliance with the good faith agreement should never be minimized and the agreement should be treated with the same respect as an applicable agreement would be respected.