Open Adoption Communication Plan

Taylar, Koby,DaymianAuthor: Shannon Vajda

{Read in 4:25 minutes} An Open Adoption Communication Plan is about establishing relationships. With the help of a mediator, both the birth and adoptive families can openly communicate their objectives and expectations. They can reach mutually agreeable decisions about how they want to structure their new extended families.

What Is Open Adoption?

It is important to understand that “open adoption” does not mean having the birth parents over for dinner every Sunday. But, the term does refer to the open exchange of information between birth and adoptive families.

In some cases it may mean that the birth parent will send medical information or pictures to an adoption agency and then the agency would send it to the adoptive parents. Sometimes the birth and adoptive parents will e-mail or call each other. At the other end of the spectrum, fully open adoptions exist where the birth family and the adoptive family have in-person contact.

Open Adoption Communication Plan v. Post Adoption Contact Agreement

In California there are legally enforceable Post Adoption Contact Agreements (PACA). My experience with these PACA is they are very simple template-like forms. For example, a PACA might read: “Once a month the birth grandparent will call the child on the last Friday each month.” A Post Adoption Contact Agreement may outline the frequency of visits with the child or describe what kind of visits will transpire but, an Open Adoption Communication Plan is far more detailed.

Our mediators facilitate the discussion focusing on the issues that are critical to establishing respectful relationships which outline the roles, expectations and boundaries. They will try to outline all possible areas of conflict.

At Pacific Coast Mediation some of the topics discussed are: what are “parenting decisions” and should be made by the adoptive parents,  positive adoption language, type of visitation, and also holidays and specific holiday issues. For example, we ask questions like:

  • Will there be gifts given?
  • If so, on which holidays?
  • Should there be financial caps on the amount of money spent?

In my family we have a fully open adoption.

My boys are adopted. My daughter is biological. We have a fully open adoption with the boys’  birth family and see them as often as we can. This year my son is graduating from high school and his birth mom, birth father, half-brothers and grandparents will all be in attendance.

A few years ago, I asked my children, “Why do you think open adoption has worked so well for our family?”

They said, “It’s because we have a lot of people in our lives that care about us.”

Family is who you choose to have in your life and who you choose to make memories with– that’s how we define family.

How can Pacific Coast Mediation help you facilitate your Open Adoption Communication Plan? Contact us today for a complimentary in-person consultation at