Frequently Asked Adoption Questions
What is adoption?
Adoption is a legal process by which parental rights and responsibilities are transferred from one (biological) parent or set of parent(s) to the adoptive parents, ensuring that a child has the benefits of a permanent, stable, and loving adoptive family.
Is adoption the same as giving away my baby?
No, not really. Adoption provides you the opportunity to make a plan for your child's future. It can be a loving, selfless choice you make in order to give your baby all the security and benefits of a stable, permanent family that can provide for him/her.
How can I be certain that my child’s adoptive parents will take good care of her?
Parents who pursue infant adoption invest of TON of time and energy in becoming parents. It is a difficult, lengthy, time-consuming process. But more than that, they are required to meet with an adoption agency representative, social worker, or other approved agent and complete a number of requirements, including a home-study, to guarantee that they are emotionally and financially ready to parent. Prospective adoptive parents have to meet all criteria set by their home state as well as the agency in order to adopt. Also, if you choose an open adoption with contact between birthparents and the adoptive family, then you will be able to receive updates, pictures, and letters from the adoptive parents as the child grows up.
Will my child know who I am?
That’s up to you. With an open adoption, you can choose how much contact, if any, you would like to have with the child and his or her adoptive parents.
What is the difference between an “open” and “closed” adoption?
If you choose to have contact with the child and his or her family after the adoption takes place, this is called an “open adoption.” Contact may include letters and photographs, phone calls, or visits – whatever you and the adoptive family are comfortable with.
In a closed adoption, contact is more limited; letters and photos may still be exchanged, but you could choose to do so anonymously, using your first name only, or sending information back and forth through another party. You can also choose to have no contact at all after the adoption has taken place.
The level of openness in the adoption is up to you and the birthparents.
Will my child grow up resenting me if I place him for adoption?
Most adopted children grow up feeling a great deal of respect and love for their birthparents. As they get older, most come to understand that adoption is not an easy decision for any birthmother, and they are in awe of the courage their birthparents showed, they are grateful for the loving sacrifice made by their birthparents.
Adoptive parents also feel a huge amount of gratitude and respect for birthparents, and often tell their children, from a very young age, about the tremendous love their birthparents had for them.
Who will help me if I choose adoption for my baby?
Birthmothers in the U.S. typically place their children through an adoption agency or a private adoption attorney. If you want to work with a licensed agency, it is important to do your research to find the agency that fits your unique needs if you are considering adoption for your baby. When working with an agency, you are guaranteed a high standard of professional care and counseling. The best agencies are staffed with sympathetic, ethical professionals who bring years of expertise to adoption counseling. Adoption agencies can offer support services and counseling both before and after the adoption takes place, as well as financial support or referrals for additional resources. Many adoption agencies will provide birthmothers with a written contract, detailing the agency’s responsibilities and promises to the birthmother both during and following the adoption process.
What if I’m not completely sure about making an adoption plan? Will an adoption agency still help me?
Adoption agency representatives understand that you are facing one of the most important and overwhelming decisions you will ever have to make. A responsible, professional adoption agency should never pressure you into adoption or deny you help if you are still weighing this decision. A number of the women who seek counseling and advice at adoption agencies do decide to parent rather than place their children for adoption, and adoption agencies can help connect these women with parenting resources and support within the community. Many women facing an unintended pregnancy, both those who chose adoption and those who chose to parent, express how fortunate they were to find understanding, counseling, and support at the adoption agency they consulted. They feel additional confidence and peace in their ultimate decision, knowing that they explored all of their options before making the choice to parent or plan for an adoption.
After a birthmother signs legal documents, can she still change her mind about the adoption?
Throughout the adoption process, the birthmother has the opportunity to receive counseling, weigh all of her options, and re-evaluate her decision. She can always choose to make another plan up until the legal time as defined by the state in which the legal relinquishments were executed.
What if the child’s father does not agree to the adoption?
A responsible, ethical adoption agency or attorney will try their best to locate the birthfather and inform him of his rights, though state law may require him to take action within a given time frame if he wishes to protect his rights. If the child’s father wishes to be involved in the adoption process and the birthmother agrees, he should receive the same counseling and support as the birthmother.
Who else is involved in the process? What about my family and friends?
When facing an unintended pregnancy, a woman may turn to many different individuals for guidance and support. You are encouraged to involve your family and friends in the adoption process if you are comfortable doing so. Only you can decide what is best for your child and make a plan for her future, but you can certainly benefit from the advice and support of the people who love and know you best.
I cannot pay for my pregnancy expenses. Is there help?
If you do not already have health insurance, you may qualify for Medicaid, and your agency should also be able to help you secure coverage. Many adoption agencies will provide free legal services to help you plan for your adoption, and most agencies will also provide financial support for additional medical and living expenses, either directly or through referrals to local organizations that can help meet your needs, depending on what is allowed by state law. If you select an adoptive family for your child before you deliver, that family may also agree to help pay for your prenatal and maternity care.
How much contact can/will I have with my child and her adoptive family?
In most domestic adoptions, after you have selected a family to adopt your child, you will be able to request correspondence or additional contact with them. How much contact you have with your child and her adoptive family will depend on what all of you are comfortable with. If your adoption agency knows that you prefer a more “open” or “closed” adoption, it should try to help you identify adoptive parents who desire a similar degree of openness or contact.
If I do choose adoption, what kind of information will the agency provide about the adoptive parents?
Adoption agencies maintain complete, detailed files about their waiting adoptive couples. Before you read parent profiles or select a family for your child, it is best to make a list of the qualities and attributes you think are most important for the adoptive parents to possess. Then you may be able to view adoptive parent profiles online, or you may be asked to visit the adoption agency office to receive information about prospective parents. After you have viewed parent profiles and gathered information with the help of your adoption counselor, you can select the individual or couple who you think will best meet the needs of your child. At this point you can also choose to correspond with the adoptive parents or even meet them in person.
I have more questions about medical services, finances, and/or housing. Who can I talk to?
An adoption counselor can help identify your needs as well as important resources in your area. You can call and speak to someone anonymously, or meet with a counselor in the agency office.
Is there anyone I can talk to who has been in a situation similar to mine?
If you do contact an adoption agency, counselors should be able to connect you with other birthparents that have been in your situation, facing an unplanned pregnancy. They can tell you how they felt, explain what was most helpful to them, and provide additional support and encouragement as you consider your options. In the meantime, you can also read the birthmother testimonials on this Web site.