How Do I Give Up My Baby For Adoption & Other Frequently Asked Questions
If you are thinking about placing your baby for adoption, you may have questions. Here are some quick answers to frequently asked questions about adoption.
How do I give my baby up for adoption?
If you are considering giving up your child for adoption, there are two different routes you can take. You can either choose waiting parents on your own and go through the proper legal channels with the chosen family. Or, you can reach out to an adoption agency or attorney for their assistance in choosing a family.
Please note: While the phrase "give up a child for adoption" is still used today, it is an older, outdated term. The current phrase commonly used today is "placing/placed a child for adoption". Please make a note of this more modern terminology and search it for information as well.
Do I have to pay to put a child up for adoption?
No. Giving up or placing a child for adoption does not cost the placing mother anything at all and if anyone tries to tell you it does, you should immediately go elsewhere. The family adopting your your baby is required to pay all necessary legal fees, including adoption attorney fees, and in some cases, can even assist with medical and living expenses depending on what the laws allow in your state.
If I place my child for adoption, can I have ongoing contact with my baby and the family I choose?
Yes. Through open adoption you can have ongoing contact with your child through letters, pictures, updates, and even visits. How much contact you wish to have is up to what you and the adoptive family are comfortable with. It is suggested that if you wish to have an open adoption, you create a post-adoption contact agreement outlining your (and the adoptive family’s) desires. Please keep in mind that contact agreements aren’t legally enforceable.
Do I need the father's consent to put my baby up for adoption?
Legally, a baby's father has the same rights as the baby's mother. Ideally his signature terminating his parental rights is needed. However there are some circumstances (such as rape, being unsure who is the baby's father, the threat of violence, etc.) in which you can move forward with an adoption plan and placement without the father's consent. You will need to discuss this with your adoption attorney or adoption professional.
Do I need to work with an agency or attorney?
You must work with some type of adoption professional such as an adoption attorney or an adoption agency in order to complete the legalities of an adoption. However, whether you work with an adoption agency or an adoption attorney is dependent upon the laws in your state. Some states require that an adoption agency be involved, while in other states, you can use whichever professional you choose.
How do I locate an adoption professional to help me?
There are several different ways to locate an adoption attorney or adoption agency, should you choose to move forward with adoption. The American Academy of Adoption Attorneys has a "Find an Attorney" feature which can help you located adoption attorneys in your area. Adoptive Families Magazine has a good search engine to assist you in locating an adoption agency in your area.
Can I choose a family to adopt my baby?
Yes, you can choose the family to adopt your baby. There are many families hoping to adopt. So it is suggested that you come up with some criteria you'd like in an adopting family (such as two or one-parent families, location, with or without siblings, etc.) and choose a family that meets what you are looking for.
Do the parents I choose have to live in my state?
No. The parents you choose to adopt your baby do not have to live in your state. However, adoption in a different state is a little more complicated for the adopting family. They have to apply for Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) in order to leave the state with the baby. They will have to wait in your state for clearance in order to leave it. But this is something the adoption professional will handle.
I chose a family. What do I do next?
Once you have picked the parents who will adopt your baby, you will want to let your adoption professional know. He or she can then begin the legal process and paperwork that takes place when a baby is adopted. You may also wish to set up regular communication with the family to keep them updated on your pregnancy and to get to know them better. This is highly recommended should you choose to pursue an open adoption.
What If I change my mind and decide to parent?
It is your right as a mother to change your mind about placing your baby for adoption. You may choose to parent at any point - until you sign papers terminating your parental rights. It is still doable after that point in some states. But it is much more difficult. If you change your mind and decide to parent, please let your adoption professional know as soon as you make the decision.
What if the family I picked chooses another mother?
Sometimes adoptive families are talking with more than one expectant mother at a time. Sometimes they may choose to go with another placing mother who may, for one reason or another, be a better match for them. If this happens, you will need to choose another family. That is why it is suggested that as you are looking for families, you have a second choice - just in case something like this comes up.
Why is the use of positive adoption language & terminology so important?
Today, adoption is a more common and acknowledged way to build a family. In the past, adoption was a secret and the language used to describe it wasn't very positive. These days, we recognize that words convey feelings and emotions and positive adoption language is used to positively describe adoption and the people who participate in an adoption. In the past, people would say "She gave up her child for adoption". Today, the proper terminology would be, "She placed a child for adoption". To put it another way: you give up an old pair of shoes. But you lovingly make the decision to entrust and place your child into the arms of another set of parents.