Birthmother FAQs 2017-05-17T18:43:36+00:00

Birthmother FAQs

1. What is open adoption?
All independent adoptions are considered “open”. The birthmother is the one who selects the family, and when she signs the placement agreement, she must know the name, address, criminal history and other listed information of the adoptive parents.

In some cases there are confidential or closed adoptions, but these are done with agencies that take relinquishments from birthmothers, not consent adoptions such as done by the Infant Placement Program.

The open adoption process begins when birth parents decide they want to be involved in selecting, interviewing and meeting potential adoptive families. They will first begin by going through several family profiles, finally selecting one or more families that seem to be right to parent their child. Next they will begin the process of interviewing these parents via the phone or in person until they find that one special family who will become their child’s parents.

Once a family is selected, the birth parents (and selected family) begin the process of getting to know each other. This usually starts out slow with letters, pictures, videos or phone calls. After all parties feel comfortable with these forms of contact, the two parties may begin face-to-face mediated visits. If these go well, the parties may then begin to meet as desired, without the use of agency mediators.

Open adoption can take many forms. It might be one brief meeting before the placement of the child, or may develop into an extended family-like relationship. The parties involved each develop an “open adoption preference” sheet specifically outlining their wishes. Once an agreement has been met, the parties can begin to get to know each other. If in the future either party desires to change the agreement, it must be agreed upon by both parties and is best mediated by the agency.

2. What is closed adoption?
Essentially, there are many less true closed adoptions than open ones. A closed adoption can happen when a birthmother relinquishes her parental rights directly to an adoption agency. After she has done that, the agency may select a family for her baby without either party knowing each other. Adoption Horizons does not do relinquishment adoptions.

3. What is “options” counseling?
Options counseling is a term that Adoption Horizons uses to identify the process of self exploration that birthparents go through to come to a place where they believe adoption is the best option for their baby. The actual decision to place their child, however, will not be made until after the baby is born. Options counseling usually takes place prior to the birth of the child and usually involves at least three counseling sessions with an adoption case manager.

4. How do I know that adoption is right for me and my baby?
There are many reasons why women place their babies for adoption. Limited resources, uncertain future, unfortunate liaisons, immaturity, and physical or psychological reasons are just to name a few. A woman doesn’t have to justify her reasons, but she must fully explore and understand the outcomes. Adoption is not foster care or babysitting, it’s a permanent, legal transference of parental rights and responsibilities.

It is important that a birthmother carefully explores the facts about adoption so that she can make a fully informed decision that is best for her and her baby. During this decision-making process, a birthmother must never feel coerced or pressured in any way. The job of an adoption facilitator is to help guide birthparents through the many steps.

5. Will I get to visit my baby after he/she is born?
Open adoption can take many forms. It might be one brief meeting before the placement of the child, or may develop into an extended family-like relationship. The parties involved each develop an “open adoption preference” sheet specifically outlining their wishes. Once an agreement has been met, the parties can begin to get to know each other. If in the future either party desires to change the agreement, it must be agreed upon by both parties and is best mediated by the agency.

6. What information will I get to have about the adoptive parents?
By law, you will receive the following information: name, age, religion, race/ethnicity, previous marriage information, employment information, health conditions, children not living in the home, removal of children, length of marriage, general residence location, and a listing of others residing in their home.

7. How much information will the adoptive parents know about me?
An adoptive family can receive fairly extensive non-identifying personal and family history information.

8. I was doing some drugs and/or drinking before I knew I was pregnant; will anyone still want to adopt my baby?
If you find yourself pregnant, it is wise to immediately stop all substance usage. Families will be interested in adopting your child if you have used substances, however, you must be completely honest about the type, amount, and duration of usage. Families are encouraged to take this information to their pediatrician who will help them assess any potential damage. Often, it takes time to find the right family for your baby, but there are families out there eager to adopt your baby.

9. I’m struggling with my decision, do you offer counseling?
Yes, we offer free counseling for birthmothers in the decision-making process. Our counseling, referred to as options counseling, helps you explore the realities and permanence of adoption. Options counseling is not making the final decision to place your child, but will help you define the type of future you want for your baby.

10. Will the birthfather have to be involved?
Yes. The birthfather will be noticed about the adoption planning. It is preferred that he participate in the counseling process, but it is not entirely necessary that he does. It is important that a birthfathers rights be upheld so that the adoptive placement can be made legally

11. My family doesn’t approve of adoption; do they have to be involved?
If you are over 18 years old, your family does not need to be involved in the placement process. However, since there is an emotional connection, you may want to consider their feelings regarding the placement. You can still proceed with the placement if your extended family does not approve.

If you are under 18 years of age, Adoption Horizons will request the cooperation of your parents or legal guardian.

12. When my baby is born, will I see him or her?
As the birthmother, you will be making the decisions about how you want the birth and hospital experience to be. You have the right to be with your baby until you leave the hospital and release the baby to the prospective adoptive parents. The prospective parents maybe rooming in the hospital and if so, you may elect to have them take over the care of the baby. Your adoption counselor will help you decide how your hospital stay will unfold.

13. I don’t want to know anything about the adoptive parents, will you choose a family for me?
As the birthmother, you must make the final decision about who will parent your child. Adoption Horizons will provide information on several families and help you choose the one who best meets the needs of your baby. You will see information about the adoptive parents when you sign the Statement of Understanding, but you are not required to remember it.

14. How do I deal with people saying negative things about my adoption choice?
The post-placement period of adoption is sometimes the most difficult for birthmothers. You’ve experienced the birthing process, you’ve made a huge emotional life-changing decision, and you are leaving the hospital empty handed. Sometimes, people are not very sensitive, nor are they aware of all the circumstances of a situation and they say inappropriate things. Your adoption counselor can help you explore this before the birth, and 6 months after during the post-placement counseling period.

15. Can you help me with housing or income?
Adoption Horizons does not provide housing, however, we often make referrals to facilities that assist pregnant women. Adoption Horizons does not help women with pre-placement income needs, however, we will provide you with an Educational/Vocational Trust Fund upon placement of your child. Find out more information about the fund on our Educational Vocational Trust Fund page.

16. How do I qualify for your Educational/Vocational Trust Fund?
If you place your baby for adoption, you automatically become eligible for our trust fund.
Find out more information about the fund on our Educational Vocational Trust Fund page.