This is an archived article that was published on in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Currently, when an open adoption agreement is reached between a birth family and the new adoptive parents, there is nothing that can legally enforce the agreement. A bill before the Legislature, SB155, would make it so that these agreements could be enforced by courts, which would not enforce them if it were not in the best interest of the child.

As a birth mother who enjoys a very open adoption with my son, I agree that these adoption agreements should be followed, but I'm not sure that allowing the courts to intervene is the answer.

Circumstances change, and the legal parents of a child should not have to go to court to stop contact because it is no longer healthy for the child. When parental rights are terminated (either by a birth mother's choice or by the state) there is usually a good reason. Adoptive families go through extensive training and background checks, and the decision about openness with the birth mother should be left up to them, not the courts.

Emily Wagner

Salt Lake City

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