Expectant Mother Education

When do I sign consent to adopt/termination of parental rights?

This will vary from state to state. However, please keep in mind the time frames given to you are MINIMUM time limits. You do not have to sign until you are comfortable doing so, if ever.

Can I take my baby home?

YES! You can take your baby home before deciding if you would like to continue with an adoption plan. In fact, as a birthmom, I would encourage it if able. Once you sign a termination of parental rights, however, you cannot take your baby home if you change your mind and would like to try parenting. Bringing your baby home does not have to be permanent but signing consent to adoption is.

Are open adoption contracts legally enforceable?

This answer will vary depending on your state, however, it is important to note that you do not maintain any parental rights in adoption. Post Adoption Contractual Agreements fall under contract law and do not supersede the parental rights of adoptive parents, even in legally enforceable states. Most times you will need money to bring the contract violation to court and the judge can decide to change the agreement or throw it out altogether if he feels its appropriate.

Can I breastfeed my baby in the hospital?

YES! You absolutely can breastfeed your baby in the hospital. You maintain all parental rights to your child, regardless of tentative plans to relinquish, up until the moment you sign a termination of parental rights. You can breastfeed your baby (please do! I encourage it!), you can hold your baby, you can room in with your baby, you can cuddle your baby, sing to your baby, and anything else any other parent can do with their baby during their hospital stay. As a matter of fact, the hospital experience is all about what you want and should be focused SOLELY on your needs at the time. The feelings of other people should not be a consideration over your feelings and needs. You’re the star of this show.

Can I change my mind about adoption?

Yes. You can change your mind about adoption at any time if you have not signed termination of parental rights. If you need assistance or moral support notifying those involved, please reach out to me and I will put you in contact with someone who can help. In some states even if you have signed termination of parental rights you can still revoke this paper if you go through the proper process. This is usually a time sensitive matter, however, and you should seek help immediately to do so. I recommend contacting Saving Our Sisters in this case as adoption agencies and adoption attorneys are known to not respond when you ask how to go about this to let the appropriate time frame pass and it then becomes too late to revoke.

What if I accepted money from the agency or adoptive parents?

You can still change your mind. You do not have to pay that money back if you are not able to. When hopeful adoptive parents work with agencies and attorneys, they known that these are gifts to you for considering adoption for your baby. The final decision to relinquish a child for adoption cannot be made until after the birth of the baby so they are aware it is a possibility that you may parent. Sometimes unethical agencies or attorneys will make you sign a contract agreeing to pay them back if you change your mind. These contracts are not legal, and they cannot be used against you because that would mean you were accepting money in exchange for your baby. If you are worried about money you have accepted and would like to parent your baby, please reach out to me and I will put you in touch with someone who can help or contact Saving Our Sisters.

What will my baby experience when we are separated?

Any baby that is separated from their mother for any reason, including a NICU stay, will experience a stressor or trauma. Research has shown that babies are born knowing their mothers’ smells, sounds, and taste. Research also shows that when a baby is separated from its mother after birth, and cared for by strangers, it causes stress and trauma to the baby. This stress/trauma is an event that happens to the baby. It does not always create issues later, but it sometimes does. There is no way to predict if your baby will have issues later.

Who should be at the hospital with me?

This will depend on you. The short answer is whoever you’d like. I would advise not having any adoption professionals or the hopeful adoptive parents at the hospital with you. In the event you start having doubts or would like to take baby home first before deciding if you’d like to terminate your parental rights, having these people there can put pressure on you and sometimes cause you to feel as if you must do one thing when you want to do another. Please remember that you can’t possibly know how you are going to feel until after the baby is born. Having those involved in the adoption at your bedside can complicate these feelings even more. You want to be able to say that you made the choices you did with a clear head without undue influence.

What if I hurt the hopeful adoptive parents’ feelings?

Deciding to parent your baby after making a tentative adoption plan can be stressful. So stressful that sometimes mothers continue with an adoption plan despite wanting to parent because they don’t want to hurt the feelings of the hopeful adoptive parent. Please remember that this is your child and if you want to parent your child you are entitled to. It is kind to think of the feelings of others but not at the expense of your child. You can be empathetic while also understanding you do not owe anyone your baby for any reason, regardless of what you felt before birth. If you’d like help talking to the hopeful adoptive parents about this, please reach out to me and I will put you in contact with someone who can help.

Will my baby thank me for my decision?

I don’t know, and neither do you. Your child will grow to be an adult with thoughts, wishes, dreams, and feelings all their own. How they feel about their adoption story will be entirely up to them. Some adoptees are thankful, others don’t blame a birthmother for their reasons, and others are angry about the decision. Please know that there is no way for you to control how your child might feel later. Additionally, your child may not feel comfortable expressing their feelings about adoption with you and they may not say anything at all about it.

Will my child want a relationship with me?

This will depend entirely on your child. When they are children, if there is an open adoption agreement that is being maintained, they may start to express their own wishes regarding contact, when they are old enough to do so. Those wishes may deviate from the open adoption contract that was made while they were an infant and before they had a say so. When your child grows to be an adult it will be entirely up to them if they would like a relationship with you. It is also very possible they may not want one at all.

Will my child keep the name I gave them?

Possibly, but usually no. The adoptive parents will likely name your child something different, unless you’ve both agreed on a first and middle name. However, your child’s name – first, middle, and last will be entirely up to the adoptive parents. The original birth certificate you will be required to fill out, which shows you as the mother, will be sealed away and a new birth certificate will be issued, showing the adoptive parents as the mother/father, replacing the original one. Some states have passed laws allowing an adoptee to have a “keepsake” copy of their original birth certificate once they are adults. All records about the adoption, including any papers you have signed, will be sealed away with the birth certificate. No one can access these without a court order and court orders are usually only issued for very extreme circumstances.

Will my child have a better life?

Maybe. “Better” is too subjective of a word. It’s also not possible for your child to live both lives and decide which one they think is better. They will have a different life. They may have a happy life, a loved life. They may have a hard life, one with heartache over being relinquished. There is no way to predict these things. The only thing you can do is to weigh the risks and benefits in comparison to your unique situation at the time and make the best decision you can based off that. To do this education is key about all the possibilities in adoption. It’s also important to consider if your situation will be permanent or temporary. Making an adoption decision for a temporary situation, and most times even a permanent one if you have the right support, is not advisable. It’s also important to note that adoptive parents divorce at the same rate as non-adoptive parents, they contract illnesses and diseases at the same rate as their non-adoptive counterparts. They can also fall victim to financial hardships, drug abuse, alcoholism, and other things. This does not mean it will happen, but please be aware it CAN happen when weighing your options and comparing your current situation vs. your future situation. Regardless, please know you ARE enough for your baby, even if you don’t have much to give monetarily.

You may also fill out an intake form with Saving Our Sisters at:

www.savingoursistersadoption.org

If it is time sensitive, you may also send a message to the Saving Our Sisters Facebook page at:

http://www.facebook.com/adoptionSOS

2 thoughts on “Expectant Mothers Considering Adoption Q & A

  1. Many, many, Single women have raised children successfully.
    Here is a To-Do List if you are financially challenged.

    First, get your legal support system in place: Call the state attorney generals office and ask for a list of pro bono (free) attorneys that will represent and help you. Don’t give up, be persistent in your search.

    Second, ask to be assigned a state social worker and request a list of public welfare services that will help you keep your child.

    Third, if you want to understand how your child will feel, if separated from YOU, READ this book: The Primal Wound by Nancy Verrier.
    If you want to understand the purpose or mission of adoption agencies or if anyone is trying to persuade you to surrender your child, read The Baby Scoop Era by Karen Wilson-Buterbaugh.

    Fourth, if have a disabling problem, go online to the Focus First Campaign for Children’s website to learn about…

    “The Family First Prevention Services Act was signed into law as part of the Bipartisan Budget Act on February 9, 2018. This act reforms the federal child welfare financing streams, Title IV-E and
    Title IV-B of the Social Security Act, to provide services to families who are at risk of entering the child welfare system. The bill aims to prevent children from entering foster care by allowing federal reimbursement for mental health services, substance use
    treatment, and in-home parenting skills training.

    Keep your kid…what ever the challenges your child is always better off with you than without you. READ The Primal Wound…

    Like

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.