An unplanned pregnancy can be tough for a birth mother, with hundreds of questions running through her mind at any given time. And some of them may be centered around one topic in particular – adoption.
In our last blog post, we tried to answer some frequently asked birth mother adoption questions. These included: at what point should I contact an adoption agency? How much will adoption cost me? Do I get to choose the adoptive family? Can I have a relationship with my baby? And finally, does the birth father have to consent to adoption?
In this blog, we are going to tackle even more birth mother questions!
Is it Best to Choose a National or Local Adoption Agency?
If a birth mother chooses to create an adoption plan, the next biggest decision she will have to make is which adoption agency she will work with.
“If you are faced with an unplanned pregnancy and considering adoption, there are lots of agencies to choose from all over the country,” says Jessie McNaughton, Family Connections, Inc. “Working with a small, local adoption agency rather than a large out-of-state agency has many benefits.”
- State Laws: Local agencies are licensed and reviewed annually by state governments and are, therefore, intimately familiar with state laws. A larger, national adoption agency might not be as familiar with local adoption laws in your state.
- Constant Involvement: When working with a local agency, they are involved in the process from the first phone call to the adoption and beyond. This also means you are able to meet your adoption counselor in person and maintain consistent face-to-face meetings or counseling sessions.
- Meeting the Adoptive Family: Choosing a local adoption agency allows you to meet with potential adoptive parents in person. Furthermore, local agencies are able to screen adoptive parents themselves, using both a detailed Application and Home Study. This allows for more carefully and effectively matched birth and adoptive parents.
- Close Proximity: Local adoption agencies typically serve a specific geographic location, such as a particular county, state or region, meaning your child remains close. “In an open adoption, this makes visits easier,” says McNaughton. “Depending on what level of openness you desire in the adoption, this can be fantastic. Placing your child with a family a town, a county, or a short drive away can provide you with peace of mind.”
Will I Get to Spend Time with My Child in the Hospital?
What is YOUR birth plan? While some things are out of your control (think emergency C-section), there is quite a bit that you do have a say in. For instance, do you want to spend time with the baby in the hospital? The choice is up to you.
You absolutely have the right to spend time with your child after delivery. You can also choose to have the child taken directly to the nursery and “have the baby discharged directly to the adoptive parents when allowed,” says Peter J. Wiernicki, Esq. It is up to you. You should do what YOU feel most comfortable with.
The entire hospital stay should be tailored to your needs and wishes. Do you want to spend time with your baby? That is up to you. Do you want the adoptive parents in the delivery room? That is up to you. Do you want any visitors? That is up to you. And most importantly, you can always change your mind.
Will My Child Be Psychologically Scarred?
“There is no parental handbook to ensure the psychological and emotional health of your child,” says Ashley Foster, Adoption.org. However, it is important to note that every adoption is unique and for every negative feeling being adopted can bring about in your child, there are countless positive benefits of adoption as well.
- Financial Wellbeing & Good Health: In a 2007 report conducted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, it was discovered that adopted children were also less likely to live in households below the poverty line, and 85 percent of adopted children were found in “very good to excellent health.”
- Loving Households: According to the same 2007 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 68 percent of adoptees are read to every day as young children, and 73 percent were sung to every day.
- Education Excellence: The study also found that more than half of all adopted children reported having “very good or excellent” performance in reading, language arts and math in school, and 85 percent participated in extracurricular activities while in grade school.
Can I Get Paid?
A lack of financial resources is one of the reasons why some women consider adoption. So, it should come as no surprise that we often hear the same question. Can a birth mother receive money for her baby? And the answer is no.
“When placing a child for adoption, a parent is required to sign legal papers stating that they have not been given money or gifts in exchange for their child,” writes Annaleece Merrill, Adoption.com.
However, as we mentioned in our previous blog post, certain reasonable expenses are covered for birth mothers here in Maryland. These include certain medical and other adoption-related expenses outlined below.
How Do I Convince the Birth Father that Adoption is the Right Choice?
Navigating an adoption following an unplanned pregnancy can be stressful enough. Add on top of that a birth father who is either uncooperative or unsure about adoption and you have the makings of a truly volatile situation. So, what do you do?
“To ensure the adoption is completed smoothly, with little deviation from your intentions, it is critical to develop open and transparent communication with the child’s birth father,” explains the Adoption Network Law Center. This means involving the birth father in the process right from the start. You are legally obligated to get the birth father’s consent, so it is better to start the conversation early. Even if the birth father is not currently in the picture, it is important that he knows about the baby and your plans for adoption, so he does not try to come into the picture and assert his rights later.
If the birth father refuses to consent, you have a few options:
- Mediation: Sometimes involving a third party to mediate can be a tremendous help. Adoption Makes Family works with birth mothers and fathers in all types of situations and will devote the time to getting to know you individually to determine the best way to move forward while respecting the wishes of both parents.
- Court: If mediation fails, a birth mother can take the birth father to court. “At this point a judge must assess whether or not the birth father has followed appropriate measures as outlined by associated state laws, and demonstrated appropriate demeanor during the birth mother’s pregnancy,” explains the Adoption Network Law Center. At this point, the judge will determine whether or not the adoption can continue.
Have a Question We Didn’t Answer?
Contact the adoption professionals at Adoption Makes Family. We are a non-profit (501-C3) licensed adoption agency based in Maryland. Our adoption counselors have many years of experience and will help walk you through every step of the adoption process, so you can make the best decisions for both you and your baby. Please feel free to call whenever you need us – 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Call Us Now at (410) 683-2100
If you have any questions, you can contact us by phone at 410-683-2100, by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or use our online contact form.