If you are currently pregnant or have recently given birth, and you want to learn more about adoption, you likely have many questions about the process. Who should be the one to help you through the process is likely at the top of your list. If you have seen any movies or television shows which feature adoption, you might have questions about whether you should be contacting an adoption agency, or whether you should be contacting a lawyer. We will discuss those options in depth below, in order to give you the full picture, and an understanding of how you might like to go about this.
How an Agency Can Help You
One of the biggest reasons it might make sense for you to choose to work with an agency for the adoption process rather than an adoption attorney is because of the counseling that adoption agencies are able to provide to birth parents. For instance, if you were to call Open Arms Adoption (1-888-OPENARMS), you could speak to a counselor who will help you process how you are feeling, why you are considering adoption, and explore other options with you, including parenting, termination and kinship care. Local adoption agency professionals are well-versed in local resources and can work with you to determine what you truly feel is best for you and your baby, whether that is adoption or not. Should you choose to work with adoption agency such as Open Arms, you don’t need to worry about being pressured to move forward with adoption.
One reason that you may feel drawn to work with a lawyer is you might be concerned about learning the laws around adoption, perhaps to help you with your decision. Rest assured that if you choose to work with an ethical, reliable, local adoption agency such as Open Arms Adoption Network, your social worker can review the adoption laws with you and answer any and all questions you have about adoption. Questions about the laws– rights, the process for the Birth Father, paperwork… these are all very typical questions that Expectant Parents have about adoption, and you can feel confident and comfortable to ask your Adoption Counselor to answer them all. And, many adoption agencies work with an adoption attorney as well, so if your situation happens to be unusual, a lawyer can always be consulted with on your behalf.
Personal Counseling and Service
Not only do adoption agencies offer counseling, but they will provide you with a level of service that attorneys do not usually offer. Our Adoption Counselors can assist you with setting up prenatal care, transportation to prenatal care, and can support you during your pregnancy and in the hospital. You will get personal attention, and know that your counselor is there with you, as much or as little as you would like. They will offer guidance and support however you would like it.
Adoption professionals will discuss the entire legal process with you, and should you decide to move forward with the adoption plan and sign consents, the counseling doesn’t end there. We provide lifelong service, long after your parental rights are terminated, as we are there for the life of the adoption to support you, however we can.
While some Birth Mothers may want more counseling and assistance, some prefer more privacy and/or space. We are happy to support you in whatever way you wish.
Sometimes, when women are considering adoption for their baby, they are told that attorneys are able to offer them expenses that agencies are not. It is true that attorneys are sometimes able to reimburse women in ways that agencies cannot, but typically, adoption agencies are able to help financially. They can provide financial assistance for medical expenses, housing, and lost wages due to pregnancy. And, you may be wondering if there is a cost to getting help from an adoption agency. With Open Arms, the answer is no. Prospective adoptive parents pay fees which cover the cost of birth parent services, so you don’t need to worry about this side of things at all. Legal fees are not an issue for you either, as we will take care of all of that.
The opportunity to choose an adoptive family will likely be very different if you choose to work with an adoption agency as well. While attorneys tend to have some families to choose from, the diversity and number of families that adoption agencies have for you to consider will likely be much greater. Therefore, you might find that you have an easier time choosing a family to adopt your baby if you work with an agency as opposed to a law firm.
Additionally, if you are considering giving your child up for adoption, it would be nice to work with someone who brings expertise and can support you as you navigate your relationship with the adoptive family, as well as your parent-child relationship in the future, should you end up choosing an open adoption. A counselor or social worker can offer you all of that, before and after placement, so you feel as though this is less of a legal process, but more of a lifelong event and that we are here for you.
The Adoption Process
No matter whether you choose to work with an agency or an adoption law attorney, the adoption process would be similar, if it is a planned or unplanned pregnancy. Depending on your state, you can sign either before or after you give birth, but typically, Open Arms would not have you sign any legal paperwork until 3 or so days after you give birth. No one should make you feel as though you have an obligation to move forward with adoption though, as you are the biological parent of your child, and it is your right to parent them unless you decide otherwise.
Depending on your circumstances, you might like to involve an adoptive family before you give birth or choose to wait until afterward. This is your choice as well. If the father prefers to be part of the adoption plan, he is fully able to participate as well, and can receive counseling too.
Once you decide you feel ready to sign consents, you will sign paperwork and essentially give up custody of the baby. After that point, the adoptive parents can sign placement documents, which would then make them responsible for the child. If you wanted to have post-placement contact with the family, that can begin as soon as you are ready.
The Role of An Attorney
As you can see, the legal side of the adoption is a piece of the puzzle. While lawyers absolutely play a role in adoption, the majority of the work leading up to the legal documents are best served by an ethical, approved adoption agency. That is how you can feel confident that you will be supported and cared for to ensure that you are making decisions and moving in direction that is best for you, and in the best interests of the child or baby. If you would like to learn more about adoption, working with Open Arms, adoption law, or need any other assistance, give us a call at 1-888-OPENARMS. We are here for you 24/7.
Related Adoption Articles
- What Should I do if I Got My Friends with Benefits Pregnant?
- Tips for Choosing an Adoptive Family for Your Baby
- How to Choose an Adoption Agency
- Questions to Ask an Adoption Agency
- Other Options Besides Abortion
- How to tell family and friends you are pregnant
- How to Tell Your Partner About Your Unwanted Pregnancy
- Questions to Ask an Adoption Agency
- Important Factors for Women Considering Adoption
- Can I put my Baby up for Adoption if I Currently am Using Drugs?