Is New York An Open Adoption State?

by ECL Writer
New York Open Adoption

Adoption is a legal process that grants parental rights and responsibilities to a person or a couple who are not the biological parents of a child. It is a complex and emotional journey, and the laws surrounding adoption can vary from state to state. If you’re considering adoption in New York, one question that may be on your mind is whether New York is an open adoption state. An open adoption is a form of adoption that allows for ongoing communication and contact between the birth parents and adoptive parents. In this article, will explore the concept of open adoption and answer the question of whether New York is an open-adoption state. We’ll also look at the adoption laws in New York and what they mean for prospective adoptive parents and birth parents. Whether you’re considering adopting a child or placing your child for adoption, understanding the laws and options available to you is crucial. So, let’s dive in and explore the world of adoption in New York.

Definition Of Open Adoption

When there is an open adoption, the birth mother and her parents are aware of the adoption. Before during, and after the adoption process, identifying information is provided, and in-person interactions are authorized. In order to set limits and expectations for how life will go on and to make sure that everyone’s rights are upheld and protected, both sets of parents collaborate. Communication, sharing of medical histories, comfort and closure for the birth mother, and much more are all made possible via open adoption.

Is New York An Open Adoption State?

New York is an open adoption state, meaning that adoptive parents, birth parents, and adoptees can choose to have ongoing contact with each other following the adoption. Open adoption allows for more transparency and communication between all parties involved, and it can be beneficial for everyone, especially the adopted child.

In New York, there are different levels of openness in adoption, including fully open adoption, semi-open adoption, and closed adoption. In a fully open adoption, the adoptive parents and birth parents have ongoing contact and communication, which can include visits, phone calls, and emails. In a semi-open adoption, there is some level of contact, but it is typically limited to letters and photos exchanged through an intermediary, such as an adoption agency. In a closed adoption, there is no contact between the adoptive parents and birth parents.

In New York, birth parents have the right to choose the level of openness they want in the adoption process. Adoptive parents can also choose whether they are open to ongoing contact with the birth parents. The adopted child’s wishes are also taken into consideration, especially as they get older and are able to understand the adoption process and their own history.

Open adoption can provide many benefits for all parties involved. Birth parents can maintain a relationship with their children and continue to have a presence in their life, even if they are not the primary caregiver. Adoptive parents can have a better understanding of their child’s background and history, which can help them provide better care and support. Adoptees can have a more complete sense of their identity and can maintain important relationships with their birth family.

New York is an open adoption state that allows for varying levels of contact and communication between birth parents, adoptive parents, and adoptees. Open adoption can be a positive experience for everyone involved and can provide many benefits for the adopted child, their birth family, and their adoptive family.

Open Adoption In New York

When people think about adoption, they frequently picture closed adoptions in which the birth mother is never allowed to see her kid and the child must conduct a protracted, potentially unsuccessful search for their birth parents in the future. Happily, this is not the case today. In New York State, open adoption is the most popular option for birth parents from New York City to Buffalo to Albany to Plattsburgh.

Birth parents who decide on an open adoption plan are supported and permitted by New York State law. Because it enables the birth mother and/or birth father to maintain contact with the child and the adoptive family, open adoption is a popular choice among birth parents. There are numerous benefits to maintaining this relationship, which we have discussed here. But what does it mean legally in New York for an adoption to be open?

The courts of New York State have approved open adoption in that state. Some birth parents worry that once the adoption is official, the adoptive parents will entirely cut them out of their child’s lives. There is a protection in place to protect birth parents’ rights to contact their kids, even if it is uncommon for the adoptive family to want to keep the birth mother in the dark. A Post Adoption Contract Agreement (PACA), which birth parents and adoptive parents reach during the adoption planning process, serves as this precaution.

The adoption contract specifies how frequently the adopted family will provide updates, letters, and pictures, as well as whether or not visits will occur. A birth parent with a PACA can rest easy knowing that the adoptive parents cannot legally stop providing them with the updates and contacts that were arranged in the PACA.

A PACA may now take part in the adoption procedure thanks to a decision by New York State’s courts. Every post-adoption interaction described in this Agreement (including mailing letters, exchanging pictures, and scheduling yearly visits) is enforceable in New York courts. Only when an agency has paired the birth family with the adoptive family and is involved in the adoption are birth parents eligible for this PACA.

Open adoption allows birth parents to watch their kids grow and receive updates on how they are doing. They are free to schedule visits with their child if they so wish. As they get older, the child will have access to critical social and genetic knowledge that can only be provided by a biological parent. The child will grow up knowing who ALL of his or her parents are. Open adoption enables exceptional relationships between birth parents and their adopted children. Living in New York State is not a necessity for a PACA to be legal, but it does function best when both families have a relationship that includes visits.

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Open Adoption

Open adoption is a type of adoption where the biological parents and the adoptive parents agree to maintain some level of contact and communication. The level of contact and communication can vary widely, from occasional letters and pictures to regular in-person visits. Here are some advantages and disadvantages of open adoption:


  • Access to important medical and family history: Adopted children in open adoptions have access to important medical and family history, which can help them understand their identity and medical needs.
  • Greater sense of identity: Open adoption can help children maintain a connection with their biological family, which can help them develop a greater sense of identity and belonging.
  • More information and support: Birth parents in open adoptions can offer valuable information and support to adoptive parents as they raise the child.
  • Less secrecy and shame: Open adoption can reduce the stigma and shame often associated with adoption, as it allows for more openness and honesty about the child’s background.
  • Better communication and relationships: Open adoption can help facilitate better communication and relationships between birth parents and adoptive parents, which can benefit the child.


  • The complexity of relationships: Open adoption can be emotionally complex, as it involves navigating relationships between multiple families.
  • Conflicting expectations: Birth parents and adoptive parents may have different expectations about the level and frequency of contact, which can lead to conflict.
  • Potential for overstepping boundaries: There is a risk that birth parents may overstep boundaries or become too involved in the child’s life, which can cause stress and tension for the adoptive family.
  • Difficulty in maintaining contact: Open adoption requires ongoing effort and commitment from all parties involved, which can be challenging to maintain over time.
  • Potential for disappointment or loss: In some cases, open adoption may not work out as planned, leading to disappointment or even loss for the child, birth parents, and adoptive parents.

Frequently Asked Questions About Open Adoption In New York

Here are some frequently asked questions about open adoption in New York:

  • What is open adoption?

Open adoption is a type of adoption where the birth parents and adoptive parents have some level of contact and communication with each other throughout the child’s life. This can include regular visits, phone calls, emails, and/or letters.

  • Is open adoption legal in New York?

Yes, open adoption is legal in New York. In fact, New York is one of the states that encourage open adoption and has laws that allow for it.

  • How do I start the process of open adoption in New York?

If you are a birth parent considering open adoption, you can contact an adoption agency or adoption attorney to learn more about your options. If you are an adoptive parent, you can also contact an adoption agency or attorney to begin the process of adopting a child through open adoption.

  • How do birth parents and adoptive parents agree on the level of contact in an open adoption?

Before the adoption is finalized, birth parents and adoptive parents will create an adoption agreement that outlines the level of contact they are comfortable with. This agreement can be revised over time as the child’s needs and the parent’s circumstances change.

  • What are the benefits of open adoption?

Open adoption can provide children with a sense of identity and connection to their birth family, which can be important for their emotional well-being. It can also allow birth parents to stay involved in their child’s life and give them peace of mind knowing that their child is safe and well-cared for.

  • What are the challenges of open adoption?

Open adoption can also come with challenges, such as navigating complex family dynamics and communication issues. It’s important for both birth parents and adoptive parents to be committed to open and honest communication and to have the willingness to work through any challenges that arise.

  • Can open adoption agreements be legally enforced in New York?

Open adoption agreements are legally binding in New York, but they are also subject to modification if all parties agree to the changes. It’s important to work with an attorney who is knowledgeable about open adoption laws in New York to ensure that your rights and the best interests of the child are protected.

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