Adoption Lingo You Need to Know: PACA

Every industry has it’s own lingo.. adoption is no different.

So, here’s your lingo for the day:

Who knows what a PACA is?

It’s the Post-Adoption Contact Agreement. 

And it is an essential element to maintain a good relationship between adoptive parents and birth parents. 

And because these agreements are often created in an incredibly intense period of time, here are some best practices that were developed by Joni Mantell, LCSW from the Infertility & Adoption Counseling Center (

Birth parents

  • Try to protect your future self, by taking your option for at least some post-placement open contact because it’s almost impossible to know pre-placement how you will feel after placement. 
  • Understand the power you have pre-placement.
  • Especially in COVID-times, tele-health therapy via Zoom/Skype/Google can be a really viable solution for you post-placement. 

Adoptive parents

  • Always under-promise and over-deliver to your birth parents.
  • Encourage your birth parents to agree to some post-placement open contact because it’s almost impossible to know pre-placement how a birth mom will feel after placement. Long term, it’s better for everyone!

And at a minimum, the following should be included in every PACA:

  • The birth parent will keep the adoptive parent’s apprised of her email address (physical address would be great too).
  • Discuss and decide the method by which you will maintain contact: letters, emails, texts, etc.
  • Discuss and decide on guidelines/preferences for expectant parents re-posting photos on social media
  • Discuss and decide whether or not you’ll have in-person or virtual meet-ups via Zoom, Skype, Google, etc.

These agreements can certainly be awkward to develop – as they are being developed in what is most likely one of the most intensely emotional times of your life. However, taking the time to consider all the options fully, can make your relationship exponentially more enjoyable.

More like this...

View All Insights