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Adoption Dos and Don’ts

Adoption is all about options — and about acting in your baby’s interests. Here’s a list of things to keep in mind as you go through the process.Do: Look at all of the other alternatives, starting with parenting, before choosing adoption.
Don’t: Underestimate the pain of being permanently separated from your child. Adoption is a loving decison, but it has life-long repercussions. Explore all of your alternatives before you make a decision. At the same time, be realistic about whether you’re at a point in your life where you can provide your child with all of the opportunities he or she needs to thrive now and in the future.

Do: Get professional advice.
Don’t: Make an adoption decision based solely on what you find online. That includes sites like this one. Even if you’re 100% committed to adoption and have a plan in place, arrange to have a face-to-face meeting with an adoption professional.

Do: Inform baby’s father or your family about your decision to choose adoption.
Don’t: Keep your adoption plan to yourself. If you don’t want to inform the baby’s father, have your adoption worker inform him for you. But make sure he knows. If he discovers it later, he could try to block or even sink your plan. Be sure to inform your parents as well. They may be willing to offer you support that could lead you to rethink your adoption plan.

Do: Find out what financial support you’re entitled to as you make your adoption plan.
Don’t: Just look at your present circumstances when making a decision about adoption. For instance, you may have money problems today, but they could be temporary. Adoption, on the other hand, is permanent. By the way, in some states expectant parents are eligible for financial aid, regardless of whether they go hrough with their adoption plan.

Do: Consider at least three profiles of waiting adoptive parents before making a decision about one of them.
Don’t: Choose the first couple you fall in love with or based solely on their online profile. Speak to them, meet with them (preferably in the presense with an adopiton professional or a friend or family member you trust), and, if possible, visit them at their home before you make any decision. And don’t be afraid to change your mind or feel guilty about them if they discover they’re not what you thought they were.

Do: Set up a face-to-face meeting with the waiting adoptive parents before making a final decision about them.
Don’t: Contact a family unless you’re seriously interested in them. Calling or mailing them out of the blue will only take them by surprise and get their expectations up, which could make things difficult for you and them if you just as suddenly change your mind.

Do: Be prepared to be asked personal questions and to share personal details about your medical and family history during the adoption process.
Don’t: Tell anyone about your adoption plan unless it’s important for them to know about it. If you don’t want to tell someone, you don’t have to. Adoptive parents don’t need to know everything about you, either. However, knowing about your medical history can help them make a more informed decision and could be helpful if your baby encounters a serious illness down the road.

Do: Not expect other people, even those closest to you, to understand your decision.
Don’t: Go through with your adoption plan just because you think adoptive aprents are more deserving of parenthood than you are. You may not be feeling at your best as a result of an unplanned pregnancy, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be a parent. Think of your baby’s needs above all else. Don’t place your baby for adoption because you want to give an adoptive parent a gift or make their lives complete.

Do: Not worry that you won’t be able to find a loving home for your baby.
Don’t: Leave your decision to place your baby for adoption until the very last minute. The more time you leave yourself to find out about the process, the better position you’ll be in to make an informed choice and to find the family you’re looking for.

Want to raise awareness about open adoption? Like us on Facebook.

[Photo: Joe Houghton]

Profile of Hopeful Adoptive Parents

What do you think of when you think of adoptive parents? A single parent or a couple? A same-sex couple or a man and a woman? Caucasian, African-American or Hispanic?

Just like expectant parents, families hoping to adopt come in all colours, shapes and sizes. Given our tendency to connect with people with common interests or values, what or who you’re looking for often depends on who you are.

The one thing you can say for sure is that despite their differences all hopeful adoptive parents have a strong desire to become parents. Some of them may be parents already,but most come to adoption as a way of building a family from scratch. What’s more

  • They have a stable marriage and income
  • Are in good health and have no criminal record
  • Understand the joys and challenges of of raising an adopted child

Who They Are. Adoption can be expensive, but contrary to one of the many myths about adoptive parents, they’re not all rich. Generally speaking, waiting parents cut across all economic lines and come from all walks of life. Most tend to be in their mid-30s to 40s and come to adoption due to infertility.

To be eligible to adopt, they have undergone a rigorous screening process called a home study that includes a series of at-home interviews, adoption education and parenting classes, plus medical exams and financial and security checks.

What they’re looking for. All single parent and couples applying for open adoption understand you have the right to change your mind any time before the signing of the relinquishment papers.

As a result, they will be looking for expectant parents that they not only relate to, but whom they can trust and who will be straight with them. As far as they’re concerned, the sooner they can find those people, the better.

What They Want. Most waiting parents choose open adoption because they want a healthy newborn. Of course, as with biological children,there are no guarantees this will happen. However, they like the idea that they can be with the baby from birth and begin the bonding process right away.

They also like the fact that they and their child can have an ongoing relationship with you as their child gets older. That way he or she will always know where he or she came from and why he or she was placed for adoption.

What They Don’t Want. Given everything that’s at stake for them, financially and emotionally, most hopeful parents will do everything they can to avoid expectants parents who are dishonest, manipulative or uncertain. Just like you, they have the right to change their mind at any time.

But knowing how difficult and expensive it is to adopt today, most will hang on to a situation for as long as possible and hope for the best. That means that even though they may want a healthy newborn, the fact that your baby may have been exposed to drugs or alcohol may not be a problem. But even if it becomes an issue for one couple, there will be many others who won’t care one way or another.

Once again, none of this is written in stone. Different people will have different needs. For instance, some may want a face-to-face meeting with you before the placement or lots of contact after it, others may not.

And that’s totally fine. Because in the end, when it comes to acting in the best interests of your child, you’ll find there will be lots of things to agree on for you and the adoptive parents.

Want to raise awareness about open adoption? Like us on Facebook.

[Photo: Spirit-Fire]

Just Before and After Your Baby’s Birth

If there’s a turning point in your adoption journey, it’s in the days leading up to and just after the birth of your baby.
That’s when your adoption decision will suddenly hit home and become real for you, perhaps for the first time. And that’s why it’s important to work out a plan for your hospital visit beforehand.
Preparing yourself won’t change your decision. But it could make your life a lot easier when you get there.

And it’s never too early to start start planning. Some issues you’ll need to address are

  • Do I want the family in the delivery room?
  • Do I want to see my baby after he’s born?
  • Do I want to hold my baby, and if so, before or after  the adoptive family?
  • How much time do I want to spend with my baby?
  • Who else do I want to be with me in the delivery room?

All of these topics can be discussed with your adoption worker or with your baby’s father and/or your family members if they’re involved in the decision-making process.

Eventually, the hopeful adoptive family will need to know your wishes as well. If you don’t want to discuss them directly with them, your adoption worker can do them for you.

Just make sure they know, and that the hospital staff knows as well. Giving birth is a stressful time. The last thing you want to do is complicate the situation further.

In creating your hospital plan, decide what works best for you. The hopeful adoptive parents may have some suggestions on how to make the experience easier for you, which is fine. But ultimately, you have the final say. Don’t do anything because you think the hopeful adoptive parents want it or because you’re worried about how they will react to your plan.

In the end, they should be open to whatever arrangement suits you. And if they aren’t, they need to discuss it with you.

Other things you’ll need to think about before your hospital stay include

  • What name do I want to put on the birth certificate?
  • When do I have to sign the consent form?
  • How much time do I have to revoke my consent?

Remember, until you sign the relinquishment forms, you are legally your baby’s mother. As a result, you’re entitled to be treated the same way as any other new parent.

If you suddenly get cold feet about your adoption plan and need more time to think about it, there’s nothing that stops you from putting the process on hold. One option is to put your baby in foster care. That will give yourself time and space to think about your next moves.

It’s up to you whether you want the hopeful adoptive parents to be at the delivery with you. If you’re having seconds thoughts, though, don’t be afraid to ask them to leave. Having them in the room with you will only make your decision harder.

Many expectant parents say they never expected this stage of the adoption process would be so tough on them. And there’s no question it’s a difficult time. While the adoptive parents will go home with your baby, you’ll be leaving the hospital empty handed. Knowing that your baby is loved and cared for will provide some reassurances, but it won’t take away the pain or the sadness.

While you’re at the hospital, surround yourself with positive thoughts and supportive people. After the placement, don’t go home alone. Be sure to have a friend or a family member on hand that you can spend time with and share your thoughts and feelings.

Stay strong and focused, but give yourself permission and time to grieve. There are many ways to deal with your loss. You can

  • Keep a journal
  • Write a letter for your child that explains your decision
  • Get your baby’s hospital bracelet or a lock of his hair

A part of you will regret your decision. That’s only natural. But as you struggle with your decision, think back on the reasons you made it in the first place and ask yourself these questions:

  • What, if anything, has changed since you made your adoption plan?
  • Are you suddenly in a better position to parent?
  • Have the obstacles that were in your way before disappeared?
  • What’s different now?
  • Will having a child in your life will make it any easier for you?

Don’t hesitate to meet with your adoption worker and get more counseling. Expectant parents who place their babies for adoption don’t have the same kind of outlet or support system that other expectant parents have at their disposal.

Even your closest friends and family members may not fully understand your decision or your reaction to it. After all, they may say, you decided adoption was the right thing to do. So what are you so sad about?

If you haven’t signed up for a birthmother support group, consider joining one. Other birthparents will understand the emotional roller coaster you’re experiencing. And they can share their own stories about how they handled it. Discussing your situation with others will not validate your decision. It will connect you to a larger community — one where you can find advice, guidance and support from like-minded people.

Want to raise awareness about open adoption? Like us on Facebook.

[Photo: gabi_menashe]

How to Respond to Questions

Placing your baby for adoption is a deeply personal decision. But that won’t stop others from giving you their opinion about it — whether you ask them or not. Most people don’t mean any harm. You could be the first person they’ve met who is considering adoption. So they may just be curious to find out more.

Still, their words may come across as harsh and rude. It’s hard not to take them personally, even if they’re not intended that way.

One way to protect yourself is to have some prepared answers handy when the occasion arises. Depending on who the speaker is, you could use it as a teachable moment to explain how adoption works and why you chose it.

Then again, you may choose not to. Here are some typical questions people may ask you and suggestions on how to handle them.

Q: Why are giving up your baby?
A: I’m not giving up my baby. I’m placing my baby in a loving home because I want to give him a better future than the one I can offer at this time.

Q: Don’t you love your baby?
A: Of course I love my baby. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have carried him to term and invested the time and the effort to find just the right family for him.

Q: How can you give your baby to a bunch of strangers?
A: His adoptive parents aren’t strangers. I’ve talked to them and met with them and I know they’ll be great parents.

Q: What makes you so sure of that?
A: They’ve been thoroughly screened by a licensed professional and have been approved by the state to adopt.

Q: Are you worried that one day you’ll regret your decision?
A: There’s nothing more in the world I would like to do than be a parent. But after a lot of reflection, I realized that at this point in my life I’m not in a position to do that.

Q: Don’t you want to see your child again?
A:  I do and I will. Through open adoption, I’ll have the chance to keep in touch with him and his new family through phone calls, emails and visits throughout his life.

Q: How will you ever explain your decision to him?
A: Because I’ll always be part of his life, I won’t have to sit down one day and explain my decision to him. But if he ever asks about it, I’ll be right there to give him the answers.

Q: Who’s the father?
A: Sorry, that’s private.

Q: Why don’t your parents just raise your baby themselves?
A: Sorry, that’s between me and my family.

When it comes to dealing with questions about your adoption plan, it helps to be prepared. Of course, there’s nothing that says you have to respond to any question that comes your way. If you don’t want to, you don’t have to. Protecting your privacy is not only your right, it’s important for your well-being. So don’t feel guilty. As long as you feel comfortable with your decision, that’s what counts.

Want to raise awareness about open adoption? Like us on Facebook.

[Photo: JasonMK]

People Who Can Help You

Adoption isn’t always easy and it isn’t always straightforward.

The good news is you don’t have to do it alone. There are lots of people and professionals who can help you navigate the process and get you where you want to go.

What’s more, there is no charge for their services. If you’re not ready to contact them directly yourself, have a family member or friend contact them for you. They can answer your questions and take a lot of the load off your shoulders.

Crisis Pregnancy Centres
Crisis Pregnancy Centres are a great place to start because they’re easy to find and specialize in working with pregnant women. They provide counseling on pregnancy, abortion, and childbirth, and may include other services such as pregnancy testing and medical exams. Crisis Pregnancy Centers can be helpful, especially if you live in a community where there’s limited access to other professionals. But don’t expect a balanced view. Many centers have ties to pro-life groups and have a very specific agenda.

Public Health Services
If you live in a small town or want to keep your pregnancy secret, Public Health Services may not be the first folks you want to call on for help. But they’re easy to find and can provide basic counseling about your choices. So if you’re just looking for someone to talk to or suggestions on where to go for additional help and support, they’re as good a destination as any.

Adoption Agencies
If you’re interested in putting together an adoption plan or just considering one, skip the other two services and go directly to an agency. An agency can put you in touch with a licensed adoption counselor who can answer all of your questions and guide you through every step of the adoption process. Among other things, they’ll explain your rights and responsibilities and the pregnancy- or birth-related financial assistance you may be eligible for and can show you profiles of prospective adoptive parents.

Adoption Attorneys
Adoption is a legal process as well as a social process, so that’s where your attorney comes in. He or she can explain how the adoption laws in your state work, and what you can — and can’t — do as an expectant parent. And they can put you in touch with an agency where you can get more specific information about your alternatives, if you haven’t contacted one already.

Adoption may be a new experience for you, but not for birthmothers. Birthmothers are women who have placed their baby for adoption. As a result, they can give you insights into the process and what to expect that other people can’t. Because they’re been through the process themselves, they “get” what you’re going through. So you don’t have to worry about what to say to them or how to say it.

Neither agencies nor attorneys, facilitators often work with one group or the other. Their main role is to help connect hopeful adoptive parents with prospective birth parents. If you have doubts about whether to go forward with your adoption plan, you’re better off seeing a counselor first. Unlike agencies and attorneys, facilitators are not licensed. And in some states, they’re not even allowed to operate.

Although an unplanned pregnancy is difficult to deal with, there are many people who can help you turn your crisis into an opportunity. Be sure to reach out to them and see what they have to offer before making any plans regarding your baby’s future.

Want to raise awareness about open adoption? Like us on Facebook.

[Photo: Cristian Bernal l townhero]

Why Adoption?

New to adoption? Welcome to the club.

Adoption touches a growing number of Americans. But most people know very little about it.

And the little they do know from depictions in the movies or the media — such as the story the adoptive mother who sent her son back to Moscow alone on a plane — is enough to make them head for the hills.

The truth is, adoption is a complicated issue. The definition is simple enough. But the process — and the feelings that it stirs up in people — is anything but.

Adoption involves transferring the parental rights from one person or couple to another person or couple. Unlike foster care, which is a temporary arrangement, it’s permanent. That means that adoptive parents have the same rights and responsibilities as biological parents.

Once you relinquish your rights to your child, your decision is irrevocable. You can’t suddenly change your mind and get your child back. As a result, it’s important to explore all of your options in order to make an informed decision.

Adoption is a loving decision that involves putting your child’s interests above your own. It’s often as a one-time event. But it’s actually a lifelong process that changes and evolves over the years.

Most people choose adoption as a result of an unplanned pregnancy. But it’s not their first choice. They usually come to it indirectly, after exhausting their other aptions like terminating their pregnancy or parenting.

So, if you’re having doubts about your decision, not to worry. Most people in your situation go through a similar process of questioning.

Some of the questions you may be asking yourself include

  • Am I making the right decision?
  • Will my child’s adoptive parents love him as much as I do?
  • How can I be sure they’re the right parents for my child?
  • Will I feel the same way about my decision in the future?
  • How do I know my child won’t grow up resenting me?

Probably the first thing you need to know is that adoption has changed over the years. And mostly for the better.

In the past, expectant parents didn’t have any rights. Under the old system of closed adoptions, they were forced to give up their babies and never saw them again.

Today, thanks to open adoption, you can actually take an active role in choosing your baby’s parents. And you can have an ongoing relationship with your child as he or she gets older.

Being part of the decision-making process gives you more control over it and lets you have a voice in your baby’s future. But it doesn’t necessarily make things easier.

When it comes to dealing with an unplanned pregnancy there are no easy answers. We can explain the basics of adoption to you and help you find a family when you’re ready.

But no matter how you look at it, adoption still involves pain and loss. That’s why it’s important to do your research while you still have time and get proper advice and guidance from licensed adoption professionals.

As your delivery date draws nearer, there will be days when you’ll wake up feeling completely overwhelmed. You’ll wonder if you’re making the right decision.

Just remember: it’s all part of the process. At the same time, keep in mind that each year hundreds of expectant parents go on to place their babies in loving homes. And find peace with their decision. With the right planning and preparation, eventually you can too.

Want to raise awareness about open adoption? Like us on Facebook.

[Photo: Omaruki]


1. What can America Adopts! do for me?

America Adopts! is a free web-based service that can help you in two ways: if you’re looking for a family to adopt your baby, you can view and directly connect with hopeful adoptive couples through our Adoption Profiles. We also offer information and resources about the open adoption process and how to create a lasting relationship with your child’s adoptive parents.

2. What’s the difference between finding a family on America Adopts! or an agency?

Our Adoption Profiles lets you take control over the selection process by giving you the tools to directly interact and contact hopeful adoptive families. At an agency, a third party usually pre-screens the profiles for you based on the criteria you’ve provided and then asks you to choose the one that best matches your needs.

3. What are the benefits of finding a family through America Adopts!

Adoption can be overwhelming. We try to simplify the process by allowing you to view and reach out to prospective birthparents from all across the country, from the comfort and privacy of your bedroom, school or office, without any pressure or obligation.

4. Do I still need an agency?

Yes. An agency can provide you with counseling and/or legal work. We’re not an agency nor our services designed to replace theirs. We can help you with one part of the process: finding hopeful adoptive parents for your baby. However, in order to get your adoption approved, you’ll need the services of a licensed agency or attorney.

5. What are the disadvantages of using your Adoption Profiles?

Adoption is a legal and social process that involves more than just finding the right parents for your baby. We can provide information about what you need to know and help you connect with waiting adoptive parents. But ideally you should have a face-to-face meeting with a counselor before making any big decisions.

6. How do I know if open adoption or any kind of adoption is right for me?

Adoption can be a wonderful alternative to parenting, but it’s not for everyone. To find out if it’s right for you, educate yourself about the process as much as you can, speak to others who have placed their baby for adoption, get counseling, and then make a decision based on what your heart and gut tell you.

7. How much does it cost?

Adoption is free for expectant parents, whether you go through with your adoption plan or not.

8. Can I get financial assistance?

Depending on which state you live in, you may be eligible for help with your living and medical expenses during your pregnancy and after the birth.

9. How long does the process take?
It can take a few weeks or a few months. It all depends on what stage you’re at in your pregnancy and how quickly you can complete the paperwork and get the guidance you need to make an informed decision. You can make an adoption plan any time before your baby is born, but it can’t be finalized until after your baby’s birth.

10. What happens if the couple I find are from another state — can they adopt my baby?

Interstate adoptions are possible, but they’re also more complicated. In addition to abiding by the laws in your state, you’ll need to follow the laws of the hopeful adoptive parents’ as well.

11. How much information do I need to share with the adoptive parents?

The more information you’re comfortable with sharing, the better. As part of the process, you’ll be asked questions about your social and medical history. This is designed to give the adoptive-parents-to-be the information they need to make an informed decision and it could be beneficial for your child, too, if he or she experiences a serious illness down the road.

12. Can I get my baby back after I place him up for adoption?

Adoption is a permanent process. Before the birth of your baby you have the option of changing your mind any time. However, once you sign the consent papers, your rights to your child will be terminated and your baby can’t be returned unless you can prove that your decision was made under duress or coercion.

13. How will I know if the couple I choose will love my baby?

Every couple on our Adoption Profiles has been carefully screened by an adoption agency or attorney and are ready, able and eligible to adopt. They have undergone medical, financial and criminal record checks and can’t wait to become parents.

14. How do I know they’ll follow through on all of their promises?

Open relationships are based on trust and on the best interests of your child. Some states have open option agreements, but they’re non-binding. The best way to ensure a successful relationship is to keep the lines of communication open and to be as honest and upfront as possible with the waiting adoptive parents.

15. Will they judge me?

No. Even though the adoptive parents may not know the circumstances that led you to consider adoption, they understand you’re going through a tough time. As a result, they’ll be there to support you, not judge you.

16. Do I have to meet them?

No. It’s totally up to you. Meeting your child’s hopeful adoptive parents will give you a better sense of who they are and could even help put your mind at rest. But if you’d rather have a closed adoption– an arrangement where you don’t exchange identifying information or have ongoing contact –that’s O.K., too. The adoptive parents will honor and respect your wishes.

17. When do I have to give up my baby?

In open adoption, babies are placed for adoption, not given away. Most placements occur at the hospital shortly after the birth of the baby. You can decide how much time you want to spend with your baby before saying goodbye. If, on the other hand, you’re not ready to make a decision, you have the option of temporarily placing your baby with a foster family while you think through your decision.

18. What if my baby’s father disagrees with my adoption plan?

As a rule, it’s a good idea to include the birth father in the adoption process or at least to make your plans known to him. Birthfather rights are tricky and vary from state to state and situation to situation. To find out more, contact an adoption agency or attorney.

19. How much involvement does the birthfather need to have?

Having the father of your child support you during the adoption process is always a plus. But you may have your own reasons about why you don’t want him to be involved. Again, an adoption agency or attorney can explain your options in more detail.

20. Can I name my baby?

Yes. You can give your baby a name at the hospital and that name will be on the original birth certificate. Usually the adoptive family and expectant parents will decide on a name together before the baby is born as part of their adoption plan. The adoptive parents also have the option of giving the baby a new name, on an amended birth certificate, after the placement.

21. What if I used drugs or alcohol during my pregnancy?

Drugs and alcohol could affect your baby’s health, so this is something you’ll need to share with your counselor and/or the adoptive parents before the placement. It may be an issue for some families, but not for others. Whatever you decide, it’s important is to get good pre-natal care and to take care of yourself and your baby.

22. What if my baby is born with a medical problem?

There are no shortage of families who are interested in adopting a child with medical challenges. If the family you choose isn’t open to that option, others will be.

23. Will my child resent me when he gets older?

Adoption is a loving decision that involves putting your child’s interests before your own. In open adoption, you have the ability to keep in touch with your child as he or she grows up. Through those discussions and the ones he has with his adoptive parents, he or she will grow up to understand the reasons behind your adoption plan.

24. Will I regret my decision?

Adoption is a life-changing decision that involves pain and loss. Different people react to it in different ways. To help prepare yourself for the long-term repercussions of your decision, be sure you get all the counseling and support you need from your adoption worker and/or a birth parent support group before your baby is born–and afterwards.

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Your Rights

No matter what your circumstances are, no matter how desperate, confused, scared or isolated you may be feeling now, it’s important to remember that you have rights. As an expectant parent who is thinking about adoption, you have the right to

  • Find out what your options are
  • Get honest answers to your questions
  • Be treated with respect and dignity
  • Make decisions without pressure or coercion
  • Change your mind about placing your baby for adoption

First and foremost, you have the right to get free and confidential counseling.

  • A counselor will explain what your options are
  • Guide you through the entire adoption process from beginning to end
  • Give you support every step of the way before and after you place your baby for adoption

At no point should you feel like you’re being forced you into doing something you’re not comfortable with. Nor should you feel like you’re being judged or that you’re a bad person.

Even though some people may refer to you as a birth parent now, legally you don’t become one until after you’ve terminated your rights to your child.

With the help of your counselor, you have the right to gather up all the information you need in order to make an informed decision. And if you decide that you don’t want to move forward with your adoption plan, you have the right to stop it in its tracks.

You can walk away any time before the birth of your child. Afterwards, depending on the state you live in and the grace period, it’s more complicated. So be sure you fully understand the adoption laws and that you read all the fine print before signing any legal documents.

Even better, have your own attorney there with you when giving your consent. And to ensure that you’re thinking straight and at your best, don’t sign anything from your hospital bed.

If you decide to go ahead with your adoption plan you have the right to

  • Choose a hopeful adoptive family of your choice
  • Get information about them, including the option to talk and meet them
  • Create an adoption plan that covers the birth of your baby and your hospital stay
  • Decide what level of contact you want to have with your baby after the placement
  • Make decisions according to your schedule, not someone else’s

As for your child’s birth father, you’ll likely wondering what kind of rights does he have? Birth father rights are complicated. Ideally, you’ll want the father of your child to be involved in the process and to co-sign the adoption papers – or, at the very least, provide his family’s medical history.

But in some cases, that may not be possible, either because you’re not sure who the father is or because he’s no longer in the picture. If you don’t want to deal with the father directly, don’t worry: you don’t have to. Your adoption worker or attorney can do it for you.

Just to be on the safe side, share everything you know about him with your adoption professionals. It could reduce heartaches and headaches you down the road if he suddenly shows up and tries to challenge your decision.

As a prospective birth mother, your rights don’t end once your baby is born and placed with the adoptive couple. After the adoption, you’re entitled to

  • Get post-placement counseling
  • Receive regular updates about your child through email, phone calls or photos
  • Have an opportunity to explain your decision to your child

Although you can draw up a post-placement agreement with the adoptive parents outlining the nature and frequency of contact, keep in mind that in most states it’s unenforceable. Still, as an expectant person choosing adoption, you’re entitled to have your rights recognized and respected.

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[Photo: Mr. T in DC]

Questions To Ask Hopeful Adoptive Parents

An adoption profile can tell you plenty of things about hopeful adoptive parents. But it can’t tell you everything.

Don’t forget they wrote it, so the information will be selective, designed to show them in the best light possible.

In order to fill in the gaps and get a more complete picture, you’ll need to ask them questions. No doubt you’ll have a host of your own. Here are some of ours to help you break the ice and get started.

  • Tell me about yourselves – how did you first meet?
  • What originally attracted you to each other?
  • How would you describe yourselves?
  • What are some of the things you like to do?
  • Do you have other children?
  • Do you have any pets?
  • Tell me about the rest of your family.
  • What kind of neighbourhood do you live in?
  • Describe what a typical day is like for you?
  • What made you decide to adopt?
  • Do you have any family members or friends who have adopted or are adopted?
  • What does the rest of your family think about your adoption plans?
  • What do you think makes a good parent?
  • How do you and your partner handle disagrements?
  • What kind of work do you do?
  • How long do you plan to stay at home with the baby?
  • Do you plan to return to work?
  • What kind of child care arrangement will you have when you’re back at work?
  • Are you religious?
  • What are your plans for your child’s education?
  • How will you explain adoption to your child?
  • What kind of relationship are you interested in having with me after the adoption?
  • Are you working with any other expectant parents?
  • Would you like to meet?
  • Can I contact your adoption worker if I have any other questions?
  • Are there any questions you want to ask me?

Here are some questions you may want to ask, but probably shouldn’t. They are better coming from someones else such as your adoption worker or a friend.

  • Why can’t you have children of your own?
  • I’m having trouble making ends meet. How can you help me during my pregnancy?
  • How do I know I can trust you?
Asking hopeful adoptive parents personal questions about themselves can get tricky. But it’s an important part of the process. What they say and how they say it will give you a better idea whether they’re right for you and your baby. In order to get an even better picture of them before the placement, be sure to meet them as well with your adoption worker or a trusted friend or family member.
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[Image: Flickr user khanele]

What To Look For In Adoptive Parents

Choosing a family to raise your baby is probably the hardest decisions you’ll ever make. But it could also be the easiest.

What do we mean by that? Let’s start with the hardest part. Placing a baby for adoption can be scary and confusing.

  • Where do you begin?
  • How do you find a family for your baby?
  • How do you know if the family you’ve chosen is the right one and will do everything they say they will?

But it could also be an easy decision. Because once you find the hopeful adoptive family you’re looking for, you’ll not only know it right away. You’ll feel it. And everything else will quickly fall into place.

So how do you go about finding such a family? Believe it or not, you can actually learn quite a lot without even talking to one. Just click on their Adoption Profile and  you’ll see:

  • How long they’ve been together
  • Their interests and lifestyle
  • Details about their family and home
  • Their views about adoption and parenting
  • What kind of relationship they would like to have with you

As far as introductions goes, a parent profile is as good as any. Now it’s your turn. What are you looking for when it comes to an adoptive family? What traits or values are important to you? Do you want

  • A family that lives nearby or far away?
  • That already has a child so that your child will have a sibling?
  • A stay-at-home mom?

Similarly, is the family’s religion or ethnic background important to you? What about sports? Education? Family background?

As you click through the profiles, is there one in particular that jumps out at you? One that has more of the characteristics and qualities that you’re looking for than others?

Finding the right family takes time. It’s like falling in love. At the end of the day, it all comes down to chemistry – a feeling or connection that’s hard to put into words. Sometimes you’ll feel it right away. Other times it takes a little longer.

Whatever the case may be, keep an open mind and don’t rush into anything until you’re ready. Be realistic, but don’t settle just for the sake of settling.

So what happens when you find “the One”? You’ll still need to check them out. Or have your adoption worker check them out for you. For one thing, you’ll want to make sure they’re everything they say they are. And the only way to do that is to speak to them and, eventually, to meet them face-to-face.

But there’s lots of time for that. For now, figure out what you want out of your relationship, and open adoption in general, and take things one step at a time.

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[Photo: jiva]