Do you have questions about the adoption process? Below you’ll find answers to many questions frequently asked about adoption by pregnant women and others considering adoption. If you don’t find the answers to your questions, please contact us and we’ll answer any questions you have.
For Birth Parents
Caring staff are here for you, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You are not alone!
What is Open or Semi-Open Adoption?
In an open adoption, the birth parent may choose the adoptive family themselves, rather than having an agency choose the family for them. They may also decide on the amount of contact they wish to have. Some women want letters and photos, others want visits or phone calls after the adoption and some want no contact at all. The choices are up to the birth parent and the adoptive family. Both parties have a wide variety of options. We encourage both the birth parents and the adoptive family to thoughtfully consider what they are seeking, and then we can work with them to fulfill their needs.
Why do women choose adoption?
Most women choose adoption because they love their child and realize that they are not ready to be the kind of parent they need to be at this time in their life. Others realize that there are unique reasons in their life that are preventing them from being able to parent their child. We realize that choosing adoption for a child can be a very difficult decision. We want to help birth parents make the right decision and help them explore parenting and adoption, letting them determine what is right for their child. It takes courage and strength to be able to make this important decision.
How are adoptive families screened?
Adoptive families are screened and pre-qualified. A licensed social worker will conduct a thorough home study evaluation and visit the adoptive family’s home in their state. This includes a background check, medical evaluations, financial background, and FBI screening. Birth parents will be able to speak to families to determine whom they feel comfortable with adopting and raising their child.
Is this safe and legal?
Yes, open adoption is legal. Your adoption can be completed as an independent adoption or a designated agency adoption. The process is normally simple and confidential. All adoption laws are adhered to, allowing you peace of mind that your adoption is safe, legal and ethical. All legal work is conducted by a qualified adoption attorney and or a social worker and an adoption attorney is provided at no cost to the birth parents.
Are there any costs involved?
As a birth parent, there are no costs to you. Adoptive parents pay for legal fees, reasonable pregnancy-related expenses, medical bills not covered by insurance, consulting and counseling fees.
What age range are most of your birth mothers?
We have birth mothers from 12 years old to their late 40’s. For some women this is their first child, others already have children. Some of our birth parents are married. Most birth parents love their child and want to provide them with the best home and future that they can. Adoption is a loving option for many.
What if I go into labor before I’ve made an adoption plan? Can you still work with me from the hospital?
Yes, we often receive calls from the hospital. We can have a family available for you within hours. In most states, the adoptive family will be able to take the baby home from the hospital, avoiding foster care. We have found that most birth mothers want to be sure that their baby can start bonding with their adoptive family right away. We are open for emergencies on all weekends, holidays and through the night. We have families that can travel within a few hours nationwide.
Can I select a family from a state other than my own?
The beauty of the internet is the access to a large variety of qualified families that will meet your specifications nationwide or if you prefer we have families in most states or can find some families for your state.
My child is older; do you have families that are interested in older children?
We have loving families seeking children of all ages and races. It is our policy not to separate siblings, so we work hard to find just the right family for you to interview for the adoption. You will be able to decide on the type of contact you wish after the placement.
What happens if my baby is born with a medical problem or disease?
There are loving families that are trained and prepared for caring for medically fragile children. We strongly believe that children are best loved in families and not institutions. So be sure your adoption professional has a plan in the event of an emergency. We keep a list of parents that would be able to adopt a child with medical problems. As difficult as it is, not all families are prepared to accept or handle a child with severe disabilities. No one should feel bad, but realistically look at the situation and make a decision based on their abilities to raise this child. Most birth parents and adoptive parents agree, that the child’s needs are the most important.
I am afraid to tell the adoptive parents I smoked marijuana in the first months of my pregnancy, before I knew I was pregnant. Should I tell them? I don’t want them to judge me or reject my baby.
Honesty is always the best course, as hard as it may seem now. It would be best that they know before the baby is born, giving them the needed time to research any effects this might have on the child later on such as learning disabilities, etc. There are a number of families that are open to some exposure to drugs. Let your adoption professional know and often they can tell the family and help them through this.
Is it selfish to consider adoption?
No, adoption can be one of the most loving decisions you make for your child. It takes a great deal of love and maturity to know that raising a child can be difficult and that love is not enough to provide what a child needs to thrive. Even with the help of families and friends, the task can be difficult.
Often family and friends are there at the beginning, then when times get more difficult you are on your own. It is important to realize that whatever your decision, you are ultimately going to be the primary caregiver and the person that will need to take care of your child. This can be a sacrifice for many years to come. Many women realize the time is not right for them to parent and that adoption is the most sensible and most important decision they will make for their child and their life.
Some of my friends say I should keep my baby and that children belong with their birth parents, what should I do?
You will need to consider honestly where you are in your life now and if you are ready for parenting at this time. This doesn’t mean you are bad, it means you know that you are not at a time in your life that parenting and raising a child is in the best interest for you or your child. It is easy for friends to make comments when they have not been in your position. The only person that can make this decision is you. You want to consider honestly your options of parenting and adoption before the baby is born. We have a number of other birth mothers you can speak to if you would like to find out how they handled their pregnancy. Just ask us.
How can I determine my due date?
The most commonly used method is done using a calendar. If you know when you had your last period, you can look at a calendar and count back three months from the first day of your last period, then add 7 days. That is your due date. For example, if the first day of your last period was January 20th, you estimated due date would be October 27th. You can also use the pregnancy calculator online at our sister site, Pregnancy Help Online or call us at 1-800-923-6784, and we will calculate it on a pregnancy wheel. Even though these are all good ways to find your due date, remember that these are just estimated dates. Babies are not always on time: your delivery can be anywhere within 2 weeks before or 2 weeks after your due date. Your doctor can use more reliable methods, such as an ultrasound, measuring the size of the uterus, to determine the exact date of ovulation.
How can I learn more about adoption?
If you are a birth parent, give us a call, right now at 1-800-923-6784. We are available 24 hours a day and are happy to help you in any way that we can. We can tell you more about adoption as a choice for you and help you with whatever needs you may have. If you’d rather, you may contact us via email by clicking here.
Adoptive parents may contact us via our email response form. We will respond to you you as soon as possible.
At the hospital, will I be able to hold my baby, or will they just take her away?
Yes, you’re able to hold your baby, talk to her, feed her, change her, and even tell her your reasons for choosing adoption if you want to. You can put in your adoption plan what your hopes are for your hospital stay. If you’re OK with it, the adoptive couple can also be there for these experiences, so they’ll start bonding with your baby right off the bat. You may find that holding your baby is helpful for you to find closure in your adoption journey.
On the other hand, some women choose not to see their baby or hold them after birth. They decide that their baby should go right to the adoptive parents in the hospital, or to the nursery. The choice is totally up to you! Every birth mother can decide what she feels is best for her and her baby.
What’s the best way to move forward, after placing my child, without falling apart?
This can be a hard time, especially if you don’t have support at home. Your feelings are real and your emotions can’t be turned off or ignored. They will come up later in life, and later might not be as good a time as now to deal with them. You want to work through this and find support from women who can help you. There are many online support groups of other birth mothers, but this comes with a small warning—some groups are more compassionate than others—so check them out before pouring your heart out to anyone.
Thinking about the what if’s in life is normal and makes it harder for you. Of course, most women facing an unplanned pregnancy never thought they would be pregnant before they were ready to be a mother. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Adoption is a big decision. Many women who wish they had gone through with adoption instead of exposing their children to years of poverty and poor care. Not all women can follow through with an adoption plan. This has to be your decision. It sounds as if you have done some soul searching and are still struggling with the idea of someone else being mom instead of you. This is where those dreams you had are someone else’s right now and it doesn’t always seems fair.
Have you made plans for your future? Experts agree that when a woman has a goal and a plan for her future, one that she can see herself in for the time after birth, she has some hope and direction. The pain and sadness aren’t removed, but it does help while you’re healing to be able to think about your plans. If you don’t have a plan for right after the baby is born, start thinking now of what you would really like to do with your life. Maybe you want to continue your education. Visit LifetimeAdoptionFoundation.org for information on birth mother college scholarships.
At this website you will also find volunteer opportunities to help other women. Grace was about 19 when she made an adoption plan for her son. She found that volunteering to help other women like herself, helped her heal faster and gave her a better outlook on her life and her decision. Daily, she would share how she never knew helping other women and speaking to adoptive parents could be the key to her own healing.
Try to meet with a counselor to sort out your feelings. Speak with the adoptive parents. Getting to know them better might help you.
What you do must be your decision and the best decision for your daughter or son.
Take time to seek out the help and support you need before you give birth. Some organizations such as Lifetime Adoption have support as part of their adoption programs. As you ask questions and seek help, you will find many people willing to help you move closer to a future you want and one your child will thank you for.
For Adoptive Parents
It is normal, even expected, to have many questions about open adoption. Following are some of the most common questions prospective parents have when embarking on this life-changing journey.
What is Open Adoption?
Open adoption can mean many things, from sharing only your first names, to exchanging emails, photos, and possibly visits.
Christian couples who hope to expand their families may have questions about open adoption. The process in a Christian adoption allows biological parents to be a part of their child’s life. The aspects of the open adoption depend on what the birth parent and adoptive parents decide together. Some birth parents want to have regular visits with their child. Others prefer to have a more distant connection, such as through emails or social media. All of these details are discussed and decided well before the adoption is finalized.
Lifetime Christian Adoption strongly supports openness among all members of the adoption triad: birth parents, adoptive families, and children. Openness in most adoptions is in the best interest of all parties, and, in many cases, has proven to result in safer adoptions with less reclaims. The amount of openness is up to both you and the birth parents.
What Are the Benefits of Open Adoption?
Open adoptions have shown to improve the psychological and emotional health of the adopted child. Children feel more secure with themselves when they have an ongoing relationship with their birth mother and/or father. It is also a less emotionally trying process for the birth parents. They can see their child grow and thrive in the care and love of their adoptive parents.
Does an Open Adoption Confuse Children?
Quite the opposite. An open adoption helps children to understand why they were placed for adoption. They grow up learning that both their adoptive parents and their birth parents greatly care for them.
Does Open Adoption Require Co-Parenting with the Birth Parents?
Absolutely not. The birth parents fully understand that they have terminated parental rights. They do not help with the raising of the child, nor do they interfere with parental roles.
How Are Adoptive Families Chosen?
Birth parents choose the adoptive parents. Each prospective family has their own profile that fully explains who they are, why they want to open their family to a child and much more. Birth parents may also speak with prospective parents before making a final decision.
What is a Home Study and Why is it Necessary?
A home study is an important aspect of Christian open adoptions. Home studies help counselors and agencies to learn as much as possible about the family wishing to adopt. It also helps them to learn if the couple is ready to adopt. In a home study, the family is interviewed and background checks are conducted. They submit medical histories, employment records and character references. In addition, the adoptive parents must undergo education and training regarding adoption.
Lifetime Christian Adoption is happy to recommend an organization in your state that provides home study services, or we can direct you to where you can obtain one. In many states, you’re able to begin the adoption process before your home study is done. By the time your home study is done, we’re ready to help you find the baby God meant for you!
How Long Does the Home Study Take to Complete?
Most home studies take about two to three months. The process is smoother and easier when adoptive parents provide all information in a clear and well organized format.
What is Needed for a Home Study?
Prospective parents must provide detailed, personal information. This includes a complete medical history, employment records, autobiographical information and character references. A packet of information with all other details must be thoroughly completed. Adoptive parents must also undergo interviews that take place in their home.
What if the Birth Parents Change Their Mind?
A birth mother reclaim is rare, but it does occasionally happen. Lifetime has a very low reclaim rate, of around 3-4%. Should you experience a reclaim, we’ll resume the process of presenting you to birth mothers right away. And unlike other adoption professionals, you won’t have to pay any additional fees.
Each state has its own laws in place regarding the length of time a birth mother has to reverse the adoption proceedings. In most cases, this time frame is about one to eight days after the birth of a child. Different laws are in place for older children. Your adoption attorney can help you understand the state laws before you enter into the adoption process.