Whilst there is a general international trend towards more open adoption, there is considerable variation between agencies in the extent to which they are prepared to support different forms of contact arrangements. Agencies have a pivotal role to play in decisions about contact and early planning that is integrated into the assessment and preparation of prospective adopters is fundamental to its success. This paper reports on adoptive parents' experiences of the process of preparation and planning for direct, face-to-face contact. During preparation, agencies were clearly getting the message across to prospective adopters about the importance of contact for the child's well being. However, insufficient attention was directed at helping adopters to anticipate their feelings towards birth relatives and their responses to the kinds of management issues that might arise after adoption. There was considerable variation in the extent to which adopters were involved in the process of planning detailed contact arrangements, and this seemed to bear relevance on the success or otherwise of subsequent contact arrangements.