Pregnant? Considering Adoption? Learn About Your Options!
There is so much information about adoption online, you can feel overwhelmed. Become empowered to make informed decisions.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can an adoption attorney help me?
You will obtain reliable, step-by-step information about your options for your child by contacting an adoption attorney.
What options will an adoption attorney guide me through as I'm considering adoption?
An adoption attorney will hear your individual concerns, give you clear information, answer your questions, and walk you through safe, legal choices, such as:
- Private placement adoption: You and the prospective adoptive parents each have your own attorneys (at no cost to you) and the placement is made by you directly to the family you select.
- Agency adoption: A licensed private adoption agency (not a state agency involved in the foster care system) provides services to you and the prospective adoptive parents. You would make placement to the agency, which would then place your birth child with the family you select.
How can I find out about potential adoptive parents and select the family?
- Potential adoptive families create a letter and photos about themselves called a profile for you to review. In addition, many create their own websites and link them to adoption websites online, Facebook or Google ads. Some place classified ads in newspapers. You can communicate directly with these potential adoptive parents to see which one feels like the right choice for your baby. Your own attorney can confirm whether these families are legally qualified to adopt.
- You can retain an adoption attorney to represent you as you consider your options, including assisting you in finding potential adoptive families who meet your vision of the family you would like to raise your child. Your attorney would contact other adoption attorneys to receive profiles of legally qualified families to provide to you.
- You can contact adoption attorneys and request them to send you profiles of their potential adoptive parent clients who meet your vision. The adoptive parents' attorney will refer you to adoption attorneys who can represent you.
- You can contact a licensed private adoption agency for services, including providing you with profiles from their waiting families.
What may happen if I use a facilitator or an unlicensed agency to connect me with potential adoptive families?
Facilitators are persons or organizations who receive fees to connect you with potential adoptive parents who pay them. Unlike attorneys and licensed agencies, facilitators are not regulated, so that they are not required to have any professional training or meet any ethical standards. Many of the facilitators' staff members are like customer service representatives who field calls and match you with families from different states with little knowledge of each state's legal requirements. They often provide information about the adoption process to clients that is incorrect or misleading. Facilitators are illegal in some states and have no training or skills to keep your adoption safe and legal.
Some facilitators use the word "agency" in their business name to appear to be a licensed adoption agency, but use of the words "agency" or "license" in no way ensures that you are working with trained professionals who have the skill to coordinate safe adoption plans.
Why do adoptions arranged by facilitators frequently fall apart?
Adoptions arranged by facilitators, can and often do, fail for many different reasons.
- Some families reside in states where payment to facilitators is illegal. They retain their services before consulting with adoption attorneys. It is only after you are matched with these families and you each contact adoption attorneys that you find out the adoption plan cannot continue due to this illegal payment.
- Some adoption plans disrupt because the facilitators misinformed birth parents and prospective adoptive parents about legal issues, such as living expenses, how birth mother and birth father parental rights end, and post-placement communication. Many times Academy of Adoption Attorney members are left to inform birth parent clients that the living expenses they were promised or post-placement communication they wanted cannot be provided because of state laws. Many birth parents have to begin again to seek prospective adoptive parents in states whose laws fit the needs of the birth parents.
To be assured that your needs are met before you enter an adoption plan, we recommend that you seek advice from an experienced adoption attorney who is licensed in your state before you begin connecting with prospective adoptive parents.
How do I make an adoption plan once I select the prospective adoptive family?
- Your attorney will help you make decisions about and put into action:
- A closed, semi-open, or open relationship with the adoptive parents.
- Prenatal care.
- Counseling - Many birth parents have found it helpful to speak with a counselor about whether to make an adoption plan and once they have made a plan, coping with the emotional aspects of the adoption.
- Living expense assistance.
- Hospital wishes and plan.
- Your adoption attorney will guide you through these steps in a private placement adoption plan. Your agency counselor will guide you through these steps in an agency adoption plan.
How do my parental rights end?
- You remain your baby's parent until your parental rights end by court order or under the laws of your state. You maintain your right to raise your baby until you sign a consent to the adoption and your consent becomes irrevocable under the applicable state's law. If and when you make the adoption placement, your child can be placed directly with the family you select and the baby can go home from the hospital with the adoptive parents.
- Your adoption attorney will give you specific information about this important topic.
How do I find out how my baby is developting throughout the years if I choose adoption?
By having post-placement communication with the family: You have the option of staying in touch with the adoptive parents in closed, semi-open, or open adoptions.
- Open adoptions typically include visitation, where the family will bring the baby to visit with you once annually and you will receive photos and updated notes. You can also send the family updated photos and notes.
- Semi-open adoptions include various types of communication, minus visitation, such as exchanging letters and photo updates through email or text.
Our goal is for you to experience the process feeling that you have an adoption attorney who you can depend upon.
Our members will assist you every step of the way.
We welcome you to our Online Attorney Directory to find a member in your state.