Adoption Services [Guide for Women Considering Adoption]
As a prospective birth mother looking to place a child for adoption, the resources available to you are wide-ranging — but finding them can be a tall task. How do you know which adoption services benefit you? Which professionals do you contact for help? There are seemingly endless questions in need of answers. The information you will read here today explains the important child adoption services you will receive as well as explain in depth how those adoption service providers will help you.
Matching with an Adoptive Family
As you begin the adoption process, one of the most important steps is finding a hopeful adoptive family.
The first question you have is likely, “How do I find a family for my adoption?” Most commonly, a private domestic adoption agency will help facilitate this process with the use of a database, where a prospective birth mother is connected with adoptive couples who are a good fit for her adoption plan. A private adoption with someone you know is another option for matching, but should you choose to work with an adoption agency, the matching process will include decisions that specifically align with your wants and needs for your child.
Some of the traits you may seek in an could include:
- Location. If you connect with a family outside of your general area, do you prefer a particular part of the country?
- Age. Would you prefer to work with a younger or older adoptive couple? If so, what age range?
- Other children. Do you prefer an adoptive family that already has children?
- Lifestyle. What type of lifestyle does the adoptive family lead? What are their interests and values?
- Education. What type of education (home school, public school, private school) does the adoptive family plan for your baby?
- And much more
In some cases, an adoption agency will help families create video profiles designed to give you an idea of who they are and what environment and setting your child will become a part of. The agency will also help you get to know the adoptive family you choose in whatever way you’re most comfortable with, whether that includes phone calls, text messages, email exchanges or even an in-person meeting.
Among the first questions you might have for an adoption agency or adoption service provider is whether you receive financial support. The answer is yes.
This adoptive service protects the financial well-being of you and your baby throughout the duration of your adoption. As the client, your adoption agency wants you to have peace of mind and focus on having the safest, healthiest pregnancy possible. As a prospective birth mother, no matter which professionals or adoption services provider you choose to work with, you shouldn’t have to pay anything for your adoption. First and foremost, all legal, medical and counseling expenses should be covered, along with the costs of any adoption-related services provided by your agency. But living expenses are often included in your financial support as well. Rent/mortgage, transportation, such as trips to the doctor or pharmacy, groceries, maternity clothing and more are all important expenditures that the adoptive family can cover for you in most cases.
In some cases, you may also have the option of improving your living conditions through alternative housing. Laws allowing for living expenses vary from state to state, so it’s important to work with your adoption professional to understand exactly how much you’re entitled to in order to pay for your pregnancy-related living expenses.
To be clear, adoption financial assistance is not a form of “payment” for adoption. It’s illegal for a family to pay a birth mother with money or something of value in exchange for an agreement to adopt a child to them, so, you don’t “get paid to adopt.” Instead, financial assistance during an adoption is meant to ensure you — the birth mother — are taken care of and lifted from the burden of any financial struggles during your pregnancy.
Legal Aid and Adoption Attorneys
Another area of important private adoption services comes from the legal side of an adoption. There are numerous instances in which the services of a licensed attorney are needed. For the prospective birth mom, an attorney will take you through the process of making the adoption legal and completing the paperwork after your baby is born.
Three key steps you will take with an adoption attorney are:
- Consent – After your baby is born, your attorney or adoption specialist, with documentation prepared by the attorney, will go through the process of terminating your parental rights. They will make sure you fully understand your rights and the paperwork you are signing and that you feel 100% confident in your decision before giving your official legal consent to the adoption. State laws on when you can give your consent vary, but in most cases, you will need to wait at least 24–72 hours after birth.
- Revocation Period – This is the period of time after you give consent that you have the ability to change your mind. There are different legal requirements for revocation depending on the state. In some states, your consent may be irrevocable upon signing, which is why you should always make sure you are 100% certain of your decision before completing any legal adoption paperwork. It is rare for a prospective birth mother to decide to change her mind after signing, but if you do, your adoption attorney will help you understand your state’s laws regarding this process.
- Post-Adoption Contact Agreements – During your adoption process, you and the adoptive family you connect with will come up with an agreement on what type of contact you will have with each other after the adoption. Whether it be visits, phone calls, letters or emails, a post-adoption contact agreement will lay out everyone’s expectations and understanding of the relationship going forward. In some states, you may even enter into a legally enforceable contact agreement, which is something your attorney will help you put together and file with the court.
Counseling and Support
An adoption is an extremely emotional time. With so many important decisions to be made, as well as the general anxiety and discomfort of a pregnancy, it’s important to know emotional support is available to you — and one of the most important adoption-related services you have at your disposal.
There are various ways you can find adoption support. Adoption specialists are uniquely trained to help provide the support services you need to make the best decisions for you and your baby. It’s important that you speak with your specialist for any needs that arise during the adoption process. Some agencies offer 24/7 support, affording you the option of contacting your adoption specialist at any time night or day. The ability to reach your specialist via phone call, email or text message is a crucial adoption service. These are some examples of support topics your adoption specialist can help you navigate through:
- Emotional support throughout your adoption
- Keeping you prepared for what is to come during your adoption
- Advice on any and all communication with the adoptive family
- Helping you stay calm during the different stages of the pregnancy
- And much more
Regardless of where you are in your adoption journey, your specialist and adoption agency can help you continue to have the best possible experience.
Developing Your Adoption Hospital Plan
With so many decisions to be made during an adoption, the help of adoption service providers is a must. But when it comes to your adoption hospital plan, your labor and delivery experience is entirely up to you. Choosing a hospital for delivery is step number one, followed by a number of considerations, including:
- Which members of your support team are allowed at the hospital?
- Who do you want in the delivery room with you?
- Do you plan to nurse the baby?
- Would you like to take pictures with the adoptive family and/or hospital staff?
- Do you plan to leave the hospital before the baby?
Your adoption specialist provides guidance when making a hospital plan, but these decisions are yours, and you have control over your time in the hospital for labor and delivery.
Post-Placement Adoption Support Services
Just because the adoption has been completed doesn’t mean your access to adoption support services ends. Some agencies offer full post-placement resources to help you move forward after adoption. Whether it be counseling, educational materials, support groups, gatherings of birth and adoptive parents or other adoption-related services, there are many ways you can seek help and guidance after your adoption has been completed.
Whatever adoption services you need throughout this process, a full-service adoption agency is often the best professional to meet your needs. These organizations provide all of the necessary services for a mother “giving a child up” for adoption, and they can help you through each and every step of the process.
In addition to guiding you through the steps of the process and helping you find the perfect adoptive parents for your baby, they will coordinate any additional adoption services to “give a baby up” with the necessary professionals, such as adoption attorneys, doctors and more.
To get started with the adoption process today, reach out to any of these agencies for more information about their adoption services:
Are you ready to begin your open adoption journey? Get free information and advice from a trained specialist now. Contact us any time to be connected with a helpful adoption professional.
Ready to get started? Contact an adoption agency now to get free information.