Although every expectant mother has her own concerns, this blog addresses the most common questions that are asked of an adoption counselor.
How does the adoption process work?
Initially you would speak with someone from ACFB to provide basic information about your pregnancy and why you are considering adoption. You can then ask to receive an information packet with further details about our agency and staff. A one on one appointment can also be scheduled immediately to talk with one of our counselors in person about the process. Our birth parent counselors come to meet you, at whatever location you are comfortable meeting.
Can I choose the adoptive parents/family for my baby?
Absolutely! We will talk with you about what you are looking for in an adoptive family, such as married couples, single parents, same gender couples, siblings, race, and religious beliefs. You will have the opportunity to review detailed profiles with pictures of each family that meet your personal requests. All our families are carefully evaluated through a home study conducted by our licensed agency. The home study process includes assessments of their character, marital stability, financial situation, and medical/mental health history. Background and criminal checks are done to verify there is no record of criminal activity or child abuse. Our adoptive parents also participate in extensive training to educate themselves and their families as to how to integrate an adopted child into their lives. At no time will your child be placed in foster care.
Can I choose to have an open adoption or a closed adoption?
Yes. Your birth parent counselor will talk with about both types of adoption. You will make the final decision as to what type of adoption you would like to have. If you choose to have an open adoption you will also decide what type of contact you would like to have after placement. With today’s technology the options are endless! Phone calls, texts, emails, social media, face time, skype, or visits. If you are not comfortable having extensive contact, you can choose to receive pictures and written updates at specific intervals. There is no right or wrong choice. You decide what is best for you.
What happens after I decide I want to make an adoption plan?
An appointment would be made for you to meet individually with one of our caring, knowledgeable birth parent counselors. They can meet you at a location/date of your choosing. You can also have anyone you would like at that first meeting (a friend, family member, the birth father). The adoption process will be discussed in greater detail, initial paperwork would be completed, and you would discuss what you are looking for in a family. Your information is kept in total confidence. If you need assistance signing up for insurance or support services that will also be arranged. Your counselor will work with you one on one through your pregnancy, delivery, and after placement. She will provide you with counseling, support, and guidance throughout the entire process.
What kind of financial help can I receive?
An expectant mother who is making an adoption plan is entitled to receive financial assistance for “pregnancy” related expenses. This can include help with rent, cell phone, utilities, groceries, maternity clothes, transportation and lost wages. Following placement, you can continue to receive financial help for 6-8 weeks. Medical care and legal assistance is also provided at no cost to you. Your counselor will do her best to assure your needs are met.
Can I meet the adoptive parents/family before I give birth?
Definitely! Once you have decided on a prospective family for your child you have the option of talking with the family by phone or meeting them in person. If you would like to meet in person, your counselor will arrange a “match” meeting. Your counselor will also be present at that meeting, and if you would like a friend, family member or the birth father to be there for support that is totally acceptable. If you and the adoptive family decide to to move forward with an adoption plan, we consider you “matched”. You can then decide what type of contact you would like to have with the adoptive parents moving forward. You may invite them to attend doctor’s appointments or an ultra sound with you, meet for lunch/dinner, or just text/email or talk until you give birth. The choice is yours.
What will happen at the hospital?
About 2-3 weeks before your due date your counselor will meet with you to make a “hospital plan”. You will discuss what your wishes are regarding the delivery. Do you want the adoptive parents at the hospital? In the delivery room? Do you want to see the baby, care for the baby? Who will be able to visit you at the hospital or see the baby? There are no right or wrong answers. This plan is based on what will be most comfortable for you. This plan is shared with the adoptive parents and the hospital social worker. If your feelings/wishes change during or after the birth your counselor will assist you in communicating this information to the family and hospital staff. Most women stay 24 to 48 hours after delivery. Prior to discharge you will sign paperwork with your counselor and the baby will be discharged to the agency and placed with the family you have chosen.
Will I have counseling after the adoption?
Yes. Your birth parent counselor will remain in contact with you after the placement. Some women want to see a private therapist following the placement. If requested, your counselor will help you obtain needed services in your community. You will also be provided with information on support groups such as On Your Feet Foundation. If helpful, your counselor can also arrange for you to speak with another birth mom that has placed in the past.
What will people think of me if I place my baby for adoption?
Most people know that a woman who chooses adoption loves her baby and is making a very brave sacrifice for her child’s future. Placing your baby for adoption can be a difficult decision, but it’s an important one that will impact you and your child’s lives forever. No matter what anyone tells you, adoption is a personal decision that only you can make. The opinion of family and friends is important, but in the end it is your life and your future. You must make the best decision for you and your unborn baby.
What about the birth father? Do I have to name him?
If you are making an adoption plan together, with the birth father, that’s great. He can be as involved as you would like him to be. However, it is important to know that both the biological mother and father have rights concerning their baby. The rights of the biological father depend on many factors, including the laws in your state. Your situation can be discussed in more detail with your counselor. Legal advice from an experienced adoption attorney will be provided as needed.