After learning she was pregnant, Jessa Speight went from hoping her relationship with the father would work out to knowing it would not and — after deciding on adoption — from expecting it to be "closed" to wanting some exchange of information with the adoptive couple who would become her daughter’s parents.But the relationship that evolved has surprised them all, moving from weekly blog updates to in-person visits — the couple even attended Speight’s wedding — and regular text, Facebook and Skype exchanges."I never expected it to be like that," Speight said. "I expected it to be as awkward as it was the first few months of her life. I say now that seeing my birth daughter is like seeing [a] cousin. We hang out, have fun and I don’t cry because I know I’m going to see them again."There is no formal agreement governing the open relationship between Speight and her daughter’s parents, and while their experience shows how such relationships can blossom, Speight knows that is unusual.And that’s why she is decidedly in favor of written, enforceable agreements that can be re-evaluated over time — which Utah’s adoption law does not address and is the subject of a below-the-surface debate among adoption groups."It is a huge problem because some couples promise the moon and back and then they close off the relationship," said Speight, who runs the website Birthmothers4adoption. "The enforceability in the written contract forces couples to be honest about how they feel about openness. A lot of couples these days are so desperate for a child they are willing to lie and say they want an open adoption but as soon as they get the child they close it off. It’s not the majority of couples, but it does happen."
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