Pregnancy: Frequently Asked Questions
If you are pregnant and wondering about adoption as one of your options, the pregnancy counselors at Family & Children’s Agency can arrange to meet with you at a time and place convenient for you. It really helps to have someone to talk to who can help you think about all your choices without feeling pressured to make any specific decision.
In addition to knowing many resources that you may want to consider, it should help you to know that our birth parent support counselors are experts in adoption – the more up-to-date kind of adoption where YOU make the decisions.
Click on the link below to read some of the most frequently asked questions women have asked us.
What is Family & Children’s Agency?
Our staff is composed of social workers that are specialists in helping all kinds of people deal with all kinds of problems. We provide services to birth parents considering adoption, couples or singles seeking to adopt, and supportive counseling for families formed by adoption. Our families have adopted Caucasian, African-American, Latino and Asian children.
How can Family & Children’s Agency help me?
First of all, it helps to talk to someone who will be neutral, sympathetic and informative. A birth parent counselor who has had a lot of experience will sit down with you and go over all your options. There is no charge for this kind of birth parent counseling. Our birth parent counselors may help you find some resources or support that you had not thought of.
Coming to Family & Children’s Agency does not mean you have to plan an adoption. We want you to take the time to find the best solution for your own situation. If you do decide to make an adoption plan, we will help you obtain the resources you need, such as housing, medical care and financial assistance. However, the choices are always yours. You do not need to commit to an adoption plan to make use of Family & Children’s Agency Birth parent counseling services. You can count on your birth parent counselor to explain everything about adoption clearly.
Can I choose the adoptive family?
Absolutely. Besides having the choice of deciding that you may want to raise the baby yourself, you also have the choice of deciding on the kind of adoptive family that feels right to you. You will want to consider their lifestyle, age, race, religion, personalities, interests, and whether there are other children in the family. You can decide whether you want to meet them and how much information you want to share.
Some pregnant women who come to Family & Children’s Agency have already made a connection to a family with whom they want to place the baby. In that case, we will help make that adoption happen safely, legally and give the birth parent support along the way.
Whatever you decide during the pregnancy, you are in charge of the decision from beginning to end.
As the birth parent, can I specify what I want in an adoptive family for my baby?
Yes. our birth parent counselors will work with you to help you specify preferences with regard to the religion of the adoptive family; the number of other children in the family; childcare arrangements; geographic location; and contact, if any, between you and the adoptive family. We will then work to find a match with an adoptive family.
What are “Closed” and “Open” Adoptions?
An “open” adoption is one where the names and identifying information of birth parents and adoptive families are disclosed to the other and there is direct contact between the two parties that generally continues after the birth and placement. The terms of the relationship are determined by the participants.
Seldom is an adoption either fully “open” or fully “closed”; most fall somewhere between the two. Some involve limited contact, either in person or by phone, exchange of photographs following placement, etc. There is no “right” adoption plan that meets the needs of all birth parents and adoptive families. The goal of Family & Children’s Agency is to create the plan that works best for all parties involved in each adoption and give the birth mother support throughout the process. We encourage both birth parents and adoptive parents to be active participants in the process.
How will my medical care be paid?
If you have insurance or are entitled to a government subsidy, we will help you make those arrangements. That way your bills are covered whether you decide to place the baby in adoption or not. If you do not have your own medical resources and adoption is your plan, the agency can pay the obstetrical and hospital costs.
What about housing?
What happens at the hospital?
If you like, we will let the hospital know you are considering adoption. That way the hospital social workers and nurses can work out what would be the most comfortable plan for you regarding seeing and holding the baby, having visitors, etc. You may, after giving birth, decide that you don’t want to place the baby for adoption. In any case, your birth parent counselor will come to see you and help you sort out your plans and your feelings.
What happens when I’m ready to leave the hospital?
Again, remember that you have choices. You may want some more time to think about your decision. You may decide to have the baby stay with one of our interim care families until you are absolutely certain that you are ready to relinquish your parental rights. Or, if you and the adoptive parents are really clear on your decision, you may want to place the baby with them from the hospital. Whatever you decide, our birth parent counselors will be there to help.
What are my legal rights?
The baby remains legally yours until the papers you have signed are reviewed by a judge in Probate Court. This can take six to eight weeks. Your parental rights are not terminated until the day of a hearing set by the court. You do not need to attend the court hearing, but you may attend if you wish. Your birth parent counselor will inform you of the court date and will attend on your behalf. Lawyers are not needed for this process, but if you or your family would be more comfortable, you could, of course, have legal representations.
Does the birth father need to be contacted?
The adoption agencies and the judges are very concerned about this matter, as it affects your baby’s future. Also, the law clearly requires that the birth father be notified of your plan to place the child. His rights must be terminated. It is very important for a child to have as much genetic information on both parents as possible.
We understand that your relationship with the birth father may be very sensitive, and we will help you with this. This is a complex issue and we can answer your concerns about this.
Who else do I have to tell?
All our adoption work is absolutely confidential. You may decide for yourself who you want to tell. However, if you are under 18, we must talk with your parents. In all other cases we will respect your wishes. We are always available to talk when you need some support.
Can I ever know how my baby is doing?
Coming to terms with your feelings about adoption is an important personal process. You may want to continue counseling with your birth parent counselor for a while. You may want to receive a letter and picture of the baby from time to time. Most birth parents find that to be reassuring, and most adoptive parents are comfortable and happy to let you know that the plan you made for your child is successful. They are happy to work through the agency in keeping in touch with you. As time passes, your feelings about keeping in touch may change, and so we encourage you to be in contact with us and keep us advised of your address. You may want to put notes and pictures in the baby’s file for the future. In any case, you may see your birth parent counselor whenever you feel the need to talk about these feelings.
What is Family & Children’s Agency’s philosophy of adoption?
At Family & Children’s Agency, we believe in a caring approach that is concerned with the needs of all parties involved. Our social workers work in a team effort to balance and protect the rights of the birth parents, the adoptive parents, and the child. We view adoption as a lifelong process that deserves our commitment to the goal of helping our clients find the solutions and support they need.