It takes a strong individual to make the decision to place her child up for adoption. This decision can be made up before, during or after the child is born. One of the hardest, emotionally difficult decisions for a birth parent is opting to give up the right to act as the child’s primary caregiver. The birth parent may have many questions and concerns during the adoption process, perhaps most importantly how to choose the right agency to work with. The following blog discusses some of the questions the birth parent should consider asking the adoption agency.
Questions for the Agency
Birth parents will feel an array of mixed emotions during the adoption process. There will be highs and lows during the search for a suitable agency. The top priority in adoption is matching the birth parent with an adoptive family that will love and care for the child. The following are some questions to ask an adoption agency:
- If I choose adoption, will I know what happens to my child?
The type of adoption (e.g. open or closed) will dictate what information will be shared with the birth parent. While some birth parents may want communication with their child because it gives them comfort that the child is being taken care of and the child is healthy, some birth parents may not want to remain in contact after the adoption has taken place. Adoptive families may also have preferences in this regard. Your agency will discuss with you how detailed the information will be.
- What type of agency are you?
There are many types of agencies that are available to birth parents. Depending on what you are searching for there are private, independent, and the public, as well as governmental agencies, non-profit, and for-profit. The business structures may vary, depending on the services they can provide, but generally, they all provide similar services and support to the adoptive parents and birth parents. In a recent blog, I discussed different types of agencies that help with domestic adoptions and that help the birth parent understand the ups and downs of the adoption. That blog can be read here.
- Does the agency support open and closed adoptions?
An open adoption consists of an agreed between both families and is carefully arranged to allow the birth parent to have communication with the child either by regular visits as the child grows or exchange of letters. A closed adoption, also known as a confidential adoption, involves no contact between birth parents, the child or the adoptive parents. The adoptive parents may receive medical information concerning the birth mother, however, the identity of the birth mother may not be available.
- How long has the agency been in existence?
It is important to choose a reputable and licensed adoption agency for both birth parents and prospective adoptive parents. Agencies should have a record of facilitating successful placements and should demonstrate knowledge of the legal, psychological, medical and other issues involved in the adoption process.
- What support will be offered to the birth parent(s)?
Often agencies are able to offer or help the pregnant birth mother or birth father to find counseling services, legal assistance, financial assistance, and other resources. Many adoption agencies continue communication with the birth mother after the adoption has taken place to assist with any reactions she may be having.
- How does the agency screen and match potential adoptive families?
The adoption agency’s primary goal is to find the appropriate home for the child. Agencies must follow state and federal guidelines to ensure a safe adoption for all parties involved. Adoptive families undergo background checks, medical and financial screenings, reference checks and other reviews to assure their adequacy to adopt. At Adoption Choice Inc., we require a few steps when families are looking to adopt a child. The application and some of the required documents include parental birth certificates, two copies of the updated home study, State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) report, and three reference letters. These are some of the necessary steps that are required to provide a safe adoption.
- What are the expenses for the birth mother?
These expenses vary by state and may include: counseling, maternity-related medical and hospital costs, travel costs, meals, and lodging when necessary for accessing services or for court appearances. Depending on the state where the adoption is taking place, the adoptive parents may pay for some of the birth mother’s expenses.
- What are the rights and responsibilities of the birth father?
Some states contest the rights of the father, while others do not. Before the father can claim any rights, he must do a paternity test to verify that he is the biological father. States do not have a standard definition of the word “father,” and for this reason, paternal rights vary based on geography.
Birth parents should not feel trapped, forced, or made to feel bad about choosing adoption for their child. This process can be extremely difficult and painful for the birth parent. Professional legal guidance, such as Adoption Choices, is recommended when participating in any type of adoption. There are many options the birth parent may want to explore before agreeing to the adoption, in particular, regarding the proper care and love for the child. The birth parent is relinquishing parental rights, therefore, questions and concerns will arise and should be well thought out and handled with care.
If you have any questions, concerns or are currently in the process of adopting a baby feel free to contact, Adoption Choices of Nevada. You may visit our website here or contact us by phone, 775-825-4673 (Reno Office) or 702-474-4673 (Las Vegas Office). Our hours are Monday through Friday, 9am-5pm PST.
Want to Give Back?
Adoption Choices, Inc. is partnering with Crowdrise, a fundraising website for nonprofits, to help our adoptive parents and birth parents with much needed financial assistance. We understand that expenses keep clients from fulfilling their dreams. Both with birth parents making a plan for adoption, and with adoptive parents growing their family. It is our mission to provide financial assistance through grants and scholarships, awarded annually in November, in honor of National Adoption Month. Funds assist adoptive parents with matching and placements, adoption finalization and helping birth mothers improve their lives through higher education — and much more.
But, we can’t do it alone. Please read up on our programs and donate money where you are able. Your donation will make a huge impact.
About the Author
Rachel Strom graduated from Lehman College in the Bronx in May of 2018, where she received her bachelors in Professional Writing. After receiving her education at Lehman College, Rachel is currently interning at Adoption Choices Inc., where she is a weekly blogger.
Rachel was adopted from Asuncion, Paraguay in 1991. Her adoption experience has helped her write articles for Adoption Choices Inc., from the perspective of an adoptive individual. She hopes her articles will help someone looking into adoption or encourage those currently in the process.
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