Understanding The Adoption Process: Commonly Asked Questions When Placing Your Child With An Agency

Placing your child with an adoption agency can be difficult and highly emotional for any expectant mother, and the stress of an unplanned pregnancy can heighten those feelings even more. If you're considering allowing your child to be adopted when he or she is born, your mind is likely swimming with questions. Here are the answers to a few commonly-asked ones.

Does Your Family Get A Say In Your Decision?

In many states, grandparents have certain visitation rights to their grandchildren, so it makes sense to wonder if they have a right to adopt your child as well. This is not the case, but certain states do permit grandparents to retain their right to visit the child if the adoptive parent is still a shared blood relative. Other close relatives, like siblings, aunts, and uncles, have no legal say in your decision to keep or place your child with an adoption agency.

If you have a spouse, they may have certain legal rights that prevent you from being able to place the baby in another home, so you will need written consent from your partner before the adoption process begins. This applies both to officially married partners and common-law spouses.

The child's birthfather, if not your spouse, also has the right to take custody of the child if he chooses. While the adoption agency has no power to make you tell them who the birthfather is, getting his written consent to the adoption process can make things easier. If you elect to keep his identity a secret, there is a chance he will find out anyway and come to claim the child at some point during or after the adoption. 

Will You Still Be Able To See Your Child?

Many expecting mothers are put off of the idea of allowing their baby to be adopted because they fear they'll never get to see the child again. After all, not being able to raise the child yourself doesn't necessarily mean you aren't attached to him or her. Fortunately, most adoption agencies now offer open adoptions in addition to traditional semi-anonymous ones.

In an open adoption, you and the adoptive parents all agree that you'll have a part in the child's life as he or she grows up. Agreements come with different rules for each family, but a common scenario is the retention of some visitation rights on your behalf in exchange for transferring your other parental rights. Your spouse or the child's birthfather may also be a part of an open adoption, if they so wish.

Adoption lawyers are recommended for birthparents looking for an open adoption, since you'll need to draw up a binding contract with the child's adoptive parents.

What If You Change Your Mind?

An unexpected pregnancy is one of the most emotional and overwhelming things that can happen to a woman. It's understandable that, as you carry your child to term, you might grow too attached to give him or her up for adoption. Perhaps, even if you make it to the day your child is born without your resolve wavering, you suddenly change your mind when you actually see the child? You might be worried that your child is no longer yours to keep once you've signed an adoption agreement.

In actuality, your right to your child doesn't end with signing a document while you are pregnant. It doesn't even end when the child is born and given to the adoptive parents. After you have your baby, you'll still be able to revoke your permission to adopt until a judge formally approves the transfer of parental rights. In the rare case the adoptive parents turn out to be unfit to care for your child, you will still be able to regain custody through the courts, even if your parental rights have been transferred.

Adoption is a complex and emotional process for all involved, so it makes sense to have questions as a birthparent. If you still need answers, it's a good idea to research the adoption process on your own and discuss it with your potential adoption agency. The better you understand the process, the more emotionally prepared you can be. To learn more about your pregnancy options and the adoption process, check out an agency like Hope's Promise.

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