How long do adoptions take?
Depending on your state’s laws, adoptions can vary in time. Once contact is made with the adopting party that you have chosen, arrangements, i.e., financial, legal, and counseling will begin for you. When your child is born, and you have met with your attorney, and/or the private court, for the necessary paperwork, (the surrender), in most states, the legal issues are completed on your part. You can then move ahead to resume the life plans that you have made.
How long do I have to decide about the placement?
The decision to place your child for adoption is yours, and usually made once you have contacted the agency, and chosen the family that you wish to parent your child. However, if after placing the baby, you change your mind, you then have the time limit allowed by the state in which you gave birth. Some states take surrender as soon as twelve hours after the baby is born (as long as you are not under the influence of medication), and other states do not take surrenders for three months. Adoptions are state regulated, not federal. Only certain federal laws apply, i.e.: black market selling of a baby, taking expenses from several couples with for one baby, fraud.
What does surrender mean?
Surrender is a legal piece of paper stating that upon your free will that you are giving up your parental rights. Sometimes these rights are given up to the adoptive couple, sometimes to an agency, sometime to an attorney, once again, this depends on the state laws that you give birth. Some states will have you sign consent at the hospital, agency, or lawyer’s office, while other states require you to sign before a judge. In some states you will have a revoke period (the time to have to change your mind about placing your child) after signing, the time allowed depends on the state laws, in other states; there is no revoke period.
Can I get the baby back after I sign the surrender and the revoke period has expired?
In most cases, you would have to seek legal counsel at your own expense, and prove that the consents, when signed, were signed under duress. Duress means that someone was either putting you under unjust emotional or physical abuse in order for you to sign the surrender.
Does the birthfather have rights; and what if I don’t know where he is or or who he is?
Yes, the birthfather has rights. If the birthfather is known, along with his whereabouts the adoption plan needs to be discussed with him. In most states, he has all the same rights to this child as you do. This may seem so unfair, as you are going through the pregnancy, but, it is the law. Many times birthfathers will agree to let the adoption plan move forward, as they want to give the child better opportunity in life, then they feel they can provide at this time, and they do not want the expense of paying child support. Most states in the United States do have the “Dead Beat Father Law”, which makes them pay the child support, or they can face a criminal sentence.
What do I pay for?
In almost every case, nothing. Payments of expenses to a birth mother are state regulated. In some states the adoptive parents are allowed to pay for everything adoption related, as well as some after delivery support to help you get back on your feet. In other states, only assistance in medical expenses is allowed, and in other states no expenses or funds are allowed to you at all.
What is the difference between using an agency, attorney or facilitators?
Agencies can be an “all in one package”. Your legal advice, counseling and ability to pick from their adoptive parent profiles can be a plus. Attorneys in most cases practice other forms of law and are not strictly adoption attorneys. They often do not understand the “emotional side of adoption”. However they are great advocated for birthmothers and know the laws in the state, or states that they have a practice in. Facilitators are usually working with a much smaller group of birthmothers. Many facilitators work with attorneys and agencies. Facilitators may also set up your legal and counseling. Some facilitators are adoptive parents themselves.
Does an attorney always have to be involved?
In almost every case an attorney will need to be involved. Since adoption is under the confines of the legal system, there must always be legal representation for birth parents, and in most cases, the adopting party has their own legal counsel.
Does an agency always need to be involved?
Only if the state that you have the child in, is what is called “agency driven”. This means that every part of the adoption must go through with agency’s assistance. You will still have the ability to work with an attorney or net worker; they will need to find an agency to help out as well. There are only a handful of states that have this ruling.
Can I ask for a certain type of couple?
Yes, the choice to place your child for adoption is yours, as well as to whom you will place the child with. It is really important to let the people who you choose to work with, know that you are looking for a certain type of couple. There are so many couples, and singles looking to adopt that the choice is vast.
Who chooses the openness of adoption?
You do. Again this is your placement choice. The people you choose to work with should not present you with a couple that does not want an open adoption if you do, or a couple who does want an open adoption, that you do not want. This truly is your choice, and always is subject to change on your part.
Do I have to meet or talk with the adoptive couple?
Only if you want to. It is suggested, however, that you speak with the adoptive parent(s) at least once. This can be accomplished by a conference call that is totally confidential, only first names are given, and the call is established and monitored by staff of the agency, therefore, no telephone numbers are known by either the potential adopting party, or the birthparent. This can defray any “wondering” on your part of what the adoptive parents are like.
What is a medical release form and HIPPA agreement?
A medical release form is a document signed by you, giving permission for an agency, attorney or net worker to gain access to your medical records in regards to the pregnancy. Some of this information such as HIV, drug, hepatitis testing may be shared with the adoptive couple. A HIPPA agreement gives an agency, attorney, or facilitator the permission to discuss the status of your health with those involved in the adoption plan.
Can recreational drugs and alcohol harm my baby?
In some cases yes, however, if the drug and alcohol use is stopped when you realize you are pregnant, the risk can be reduced significantly. If the use continues it can lead to long-term disability for the baby.
I have done drugs and alcohol through my pregnancy and the doctors have told me that this baby may be born with defects. Is there anyone out there who will want to adopt this baby?
Yes, there are many couples out there willing to adopt a child with special needs. Many of these people have extensive training in working with special needs babies.
Can my adoption be completely confidential?
Yes, as long as you are not a minor. If you are a minor your parents need to know, however, all the choices are legally yours to make. If you are under the age of 14, your parents have the right to make all your legal decisions.