You are thinking of placing a baby for adoption, but you wonder …
How does adoption work?
Nine out of ten birth mothers decide they want to personally select the adopting parents. They create an adoption plan with adopting parents in an independent or open adoption setting. The attorney is able to help the mother find exactly what she wants as a future for her child! The other choice for a mother is to place her baby through a state licensed adoption agency; the agency becomes responsible for the baby and ultimately makes the final decision of where the baby will go.
How open is “open”?
There is no one blue print for an independent adoption. You can determine what you want and have your attorney discuss it with possible parent choices, so that you can settle on a plan for pictures, letters, phone calls, or meetings, or complete anonymity, if you prefer. Most common is a regular exchange of pictures and developmental letters a couple of times a year.
What kind of people adopt?
Most prospective adoptive parents are loving, generous, kind, stable adults. Some cannot have children biologically due to infertility – over 25% of women have fertility issues. Some simply choose to adopt because they have a desire to give a home to child who needs them. Adoptive parents have reached a level of personal maturity and financial security that makes them ready and eager to be given the opportunity and responsibility for bringing up a child. Since adoption tends to be a fairly expensive and time consuming endeavor, they give it a great deal of consideration before making the adoption decision.
What specific information will I be given about the parents I select?
California law requires that you be informed of any significant health issues, prior marriages, other children in the home or elsewhere regardless of age, and disclosure of all members of the household where the child will live. The justice department will screen all adults in the home for suitability. Additionally, you must be provided the legal name, age, race, religion, occupation, state of residence, and education level of an adopting parent.
Will I meet them?
Unless you choose not to, yes! Nearly all birth mothers prefer to select adoptive parents at a personal meeting or meetings, so that there is an opportunity to ask questions about their families, activities, backgrounds, plans for discipline, religion, hobbies – you name it! You can then form your own first-hand opinion of the people who will do the day-to-day parenting of your child.
What will they think of me?
Without exception adopting parents will think you are an amazing, unselfish, wonderful person to have given your child life and for taking the time and effort to create a long-term parenting plan to best serve your child by providing a future that you are presently unable to provide.
What will the parents be told about me?
The priority to the new parents is a detailed medical back ground, so that they can be prepared and can provide the baby’s pediatrician with vital health information in order to best serve the child. Everything you provide, as a general rule; very little if you provide little.
What information is required on the father?
If you know who the father is, you must provide his name. Depending on the role the baby’s father had in your life, it varies. If you were living with the father or married to the father, he may have some rights, at least the right to be notified of the adoption plan. Sometimes the father is unknown, such a one-night-stand or a rape situation, and we have no information at all. The courts have ways of handling each situation.
What if I did drugs?
Every baby is wanted by someone! Michelle has never had a baby she could not place for adoption!
Will I be able to meet my child someday?
If you want to, and the child wants to after reaching adulthood, yes! The child will need permission of the adopting parents before reaching the age of 18. California keeps all the information on file along with either your permission to be contacted or your denial of permission to be contacted.
What will my baby be told about me, about my adoption decision?
Write a letter to the child. Michelle recommends that you tell the child yourself in your own words so that the adopting parents can present your letter to the child when they determine that the time is right. A former birth mother e-mailed Michelle with delight when her son, age 15, had his adoptive mom request pictures of her and of his half-siblings after reading the letter she had written to him when he was born.
What if I haven’t been seeing a doctor regularly?
We will make every effort to help you get your prenatal care on a regular basis for both your health and the baby’s. It will depend on you individual circumstances how this is handled.
Will I be able to name my baby?
You will complete a birth certificate. Some birth mothers select a full name, some only use their last name, some prefer to use the name the adoptive parents select. (Upon the finalization of the adoption, the adoptive parents will select the name the child will have from that time on.)
How do I find the adoption records later?
You don’t. Adoptions are highly confidential and sealed once the adoption is final. They are not listed on web sites or in any information source available to the general public. This protects your privacy as well as your child’s and the adoption parents’.
When does the baby go with the new parents?
Usually the adopting parents are present at the hospital and are allowed by the hospital to begin making decisions and having bonding time right away. You can spend time with the baby while in the hospital. The baby generally goes home from the hospital with the parents you have chosen.
Can I get any help, financially?
It is vitally important in the handling of an adoption to avoid even the appearance that a baby is being given in exchange for any financial gain. You can get assistance, as needed, to help with specified pregnancy related expenses as allowed and itemized by California law, such as room and board, maternity clothes, and medical insurance co-pays. Just talk to Michelle, she can usually help you with the things you need until the baby is born and for a reasonable time thereafter.