DCF saying no to Open Adoption Agreement
Anyone been through this: TPR happened, birthdad is appealing. Through our STBAS's appellate attorney, we offered an open adoption agreement (2 visits/year) if birthdad dropped the appeal. He (through his attorney) verbally agreed. But DCF is saying no. They think they can win the appeal, and don't want to settle. Our STBAS's attorney says it can't happen without DCF's ok.

Our argument is that our kiddo has been in foster care TOO LONG, and appeals in our area average 18-24 months. Plus there is always the risk that DCF could loose the appeal. We want to settle, finalize, and give our kiddo a chance at a normal life. We will, of course, take all sorts of precautions with visits with birthdad. And his history suggests that he is likely to disappear anyway.

Any suggestions on what to say to DCF to try to persuade them to agree with an open adoption agreement??

I continue to be disgusted with the way the system works........
Any advice??
This seems so strange to me. Granted, I am new to the process here in ma, but all I have heard from dcf worker is that we should agree to an oa to avoid adoption delays. It sort of annoys me...but even more dh who thinks advocating for oa in abuse and neglect situations is...well, odd. I hope dcf comes around. To me, stability and permanence should override any concerns over infrequent visits where you can control stuff. Also, just for your peace of mind, if they don't see things your way, overturning tpr on appeal is rather rare..I know that may be cold comfort. Good luck. Dh says it is a wonder dcf is able to attract good parents at all...
Having the same issue in Mass. DCF does not support OA in our case due to safety concerns on our behalf! We are still waiting to be appointed an appellate attorney but when I asked DCF said no.

Sorry no advice just similar frustrations!
Single Momma

AD Curly 4 years old
Happy Boy 16 months old
I'm in NY and learned that even through a TPR, the judge could still grant visitation post adoption, which may not be the same in MA. I think the time to negotiate with the Dad would have been before the TPR in trying to have him surrender his parental rights. But since TPR has been granted and he's appealing, I don't think you have any standing to offer to settle at this point. I think you just have to wait it out - which is the risk with TPR.
No OA's in our area
Our area tells me "DCS does not do open adoptions." That there is a reason they filed a TPR to begin with.

In my opinion, I think there are times when it would be ok (and obviously times where it would not!).

Sorry I don't really have any advice for you, just info that I don't think it's uncommon that DCS/DCF would not want to "settle" or agree to an open adoption. I think if they "admitted" to "some" contact thru an open adoption would be ok, they would be agreeing that the relationship was not without hope and therefore foster car should continue. If that makes sense...

I hope they are able to iron things out for all of you quickly and easily!
The Biological dad for my fd is appealing right now. DCFS has said no way to an open adoption, due to the type of person he is. They feel he in no way would have a positive effect on his child and would just cause problems. Biological mom tried to keep him from appealing, but he did so anyway, because he likes to argue. Now we have to wait it out, which is so frustrating, knowing he is doing it just to be a pain, he has no chance to win the appeal.
We had a similar situation...although, in our case, she wanted to relinquish...and she wasn't asking much at ALL...and they said no to her request...she ended up accepting far far less...but, it took several more months to happen! I think that is ridiculous...and honestly...my worry is that she isn't even going to do what she settled for...she just kinda disappeared...
You know, regards this:

I continue to be disgusted with the way the system works........

Amen to that! I'm actually on a trip right now, working with a group on a reform model started in Washington State. Anyone feeling like ripping your hair out, you might go look at this page, or google "The Mockingbird Society". It's an amazing concept to build a more compassionate model of foster care, which will be better for the children. It doesn't preclude adoption, in fact in the "Hub" group I'm participating in now, one single mom is getting ready to adopt 2 foster children who've been living in the Hub home. It will be *easier* for her to adopt them, because she's a part of this group.

This page has a graphic of the Hub model:
[url=http://www.mockingbirdsociety.org/the-mockingbird-family-model/]Mockingbird Family Model Mockingbird Society[/url]

It's similar to Boy's Town, which has worked for years. In cities, it's not like you all have to live on the same block, you simply meet from time to time, as monthly, like a normal support group, then connections happen, so you can do respite for each other, cheer adoptions, and so forth. Hope this makes some sense.
We have an open adoption through foster care... But only by our choice. I would never have signed an agreement, especially for the purpose of talking a birth parent out of their appeal. OA should be done solely because you feel it would be beneficial for your child to have contact with this birth parent.
Yes, he might disappear. But what if he doesn't? If you really want an OA you can do that on your own after the adoption is final.
I completely understand wanting it to be over. Ours were in FC for 4 years. And our previous kiddos are 17 and 18 now and were taken into care at 7 and 8!!!!! Yep 10 years. That should be illegal in my opinion!!!

IMHO, wait it out. TPR is very hard to appeal

LOVE the Mocking bird model!!!

When my little ones are older I would lI've to set that up in my area. No idea whether DCFS would cooperate?
There are no private agencies here. Which is a shame.
OP - this isn't in Worcester county, is it?

The DCYF attorney we had there was irritated that we agreed to OA. It seemed he was more into building up his win/lose record than he was resolving placements.

Can you speak with a supervisor? After all, once the adoption is finalized, its none of their business

hang in there
As of last week OA wasn't an option and now little one was appointed an appellate attorney a few days ago. We are now negotiating an OA if they agree to my terms! If not we are going to wait the 12-24 months (attorney thinks about 8 more months) for the appeal to play itself out.

Appellate attorney, DCF attorney, CW, LW, trial attorney are all working together to see if we can agree on a very limited OA as I want to do what is best for my little one. Ask to speak to your appellate attorney/trial attorney.
Single Momma

AD Curly 4 years old
Happy Boy 16 months old
Hi, Massachusetts Mom---

It's my understanding of Massachusetts law that there is no legal/court-ordered option available for a binding open adoption.

So, if DCF promised anything to the birthparents in order to secure a surrender of parental rights or stop an appeal, they would be engaging in fraud.

Any contact post-finalization, in the state of Massachusetts (other states may differ), therefore is completely at the discretion of the adoptive parents.

Based on that understanding of Massachusetts law, I'm surprised that any lawyer would be pushing for an "open adoption" agreement. So, I guess, I'm just confused.

Sorry that I couldn't offer anything more useful.

My best to you! I hope things move quickly and smoothly to finalization.
Mary - MA DOES have legally binding OA. I have one; mediated through DCYF.

They can't ban you from forming one post adoption, but they can certainly refuse to have it considered while they have custody of the child
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