- How do I start the adoption process?
The first step is to select the adoption professionals to facilitate your adoption. In Indiana, you have the choice of doing a private (independent) or an agency adoption. In a private adoption, you would choose an attorney to handle the adoption proceedings. The attorney may help you find a family to adopt your baby — but attorneys are legal advisors — not counseling professionals. It’s a good idea to select an attorney who specializes in adoption and is licensed to practice law in Indiana. Another option is to work with a private adoption agency. Make sure the adoption agency you choose is licensed in Indiana and offers counseling and supportive services.
- Are adoption laws in Indiana different than other states?
Every state – including Indiana — has unique adoption laws that must be followed. These laws apply to an adoption of any child born in Indiana. It’s important that your agency or attorney is licensed in Indiana and experienced in adoption.
- What kinds of services will I receive if I choose to work with an adoption agency?
The services many adoption agencies offer include: counseling, education and support so that you can make the best decision for yourself and your baby. Your counselor may help you to obtain quality medical care and offer you financial assistance (in accordance with Indiana law). She will provide you with profiles of adoptive families and may facilitate a meeting between you and the family you have chosen. Your counselor will be your advocate throughout the process. Following the birth, she will visit you at the hospital and take your consent to the adoption when you are ready. If the birth father is involved, she will work with him, too. If he is not named or cannot be found, the agency (and the attorney for the adoptive parents) will follow Indiana procedures to terminate his rights. The attorney for the adoptive parents will file the documents in court, insuring that all legal requirements are met.
- What services will I receive if I do a private adoption
The attorney may help you find adoptive parents, take your consent to the adoption after the birth, terminate the birth father’s rights and handle the legal/court proceedings. He or she may also offer you help with your finances according to Indiana law.
- If I am making an adoption plan for my baby, can I still receive Medicaid in Indiana?
Yes. If you are eligible for Medicaid or other government benefits, placing your baby for adoption does not interfere with your eligibility.
- If I contact an adoption agency or attorney, will I be pressured to place my baby for adoption?
You should never feel pressure to place your baby for adoption. Contacting an adoption agency or attorney does not obligate you to proceed with an adoption plan. You may change your mind at any time during your pregnancy – and after the birth– prior to signing a final consent to the adoption.
- Will counseling be available after the baby is placed for adoption?
Most adoption agencies offer post-placement counseling to birth parents. Receiving professional help in the months following a placement will make the adjustment easier and less stressful.
- What is open adoption?
In an open adoption, you may choose the adoptive family yourself, get to know them and determine the kind of contact you will have in the future. In Indiana, there are not laws governing open adoption, so the agreement is not legally binding. For this reason, establishing a trusting relationship with the adoptive parents is essential. Working with an open adoption agency will also help to insure a smooth transition following the placement.
- Are there laws governing adoption in Indiana?
Yes. There are laws governing adoption in every state. Indiana adoption law determines when you are able to sign the final consent to the adoption, the kind of financial support you may receive, the rights and responsibilities of birth parents, when and how the birth father may consent to the adoption and the process for terminating the rights of an unnamed, unknown or uncooperative birth father.
- What is the Indiana Safe Haven Law?
This law allows expectant mothers in Indiana to leave their unharmed baby at a hospital, police or fire station without fear of penalty. The child must be brought to one of these facilities within 30 days after birth. The Safe Haven law offers the birth parent(s) anonymity; you are not required to leave your name or address, but you will be asked to provide medical history. Child Protective Services of Indiana would place your baby in temporary care before finding a permanent home.
Adoption Center for Family Building is a licensed, non-profit Open Adoption Agency in Indiana and Illinois. The agency offers free counseling and support to expectant mothers throughout Indiana. The agency has outposts in Southern, Northern and Northwest Indiana. If you would like more information about open adoption, please call 800-869-1005, or visit our website: www.centerforfamily.com.