Giving Up a Baby for Adoption? Watch Out for These Red Flags
Making complicated pregnancy decisions is challenging enough without worrying about figuring out an adoption plan. But if you’re thinking about giving a baby up for adoption, it’s important to learn what to look for in an ethical adoption agency or provider, as well us what to look out for during your search for help. Beware of these 10 Adoption Agency Red Flags while you explore your adoption options.
- Red Flag #1: The agency or professional is not licensed to provide adoption placement services in your state. If you are considering placing a baby for adoption, you should ask the organization or professional you’re working with if they are licensed to provide child placement services in your state. Licensed adoption professionals are legally and ethically required to provide comprehensive services to women considering adoption. Unlicensed providers may fail to protect your interests and legal rights in order to profit from the eventual adoption of your child.
- Red Flag #2: The agency or professional you work with only discusses adoption with you during your counseling sessions. When you meet with an adoption counselor to talk about placing your baby for adoption, your counselor should talk to you about all of your legal options. Depending on how far along you are in your pregnancy, these options might include adoption for your baby, parenting your child, or terminating your pregnancy through a medical procedure called an abortion. Beware of agencies or providers who do not thoroughly and fairly discuss other legal options available to you during counseling. You have a right to receive this information while making a decision about your pregnancy.
- Red Flag #3: They offer very limited options when it comes to choosing an adoptive family for your baby. Ethical adoption agencies will work with you to ensure you have a wide range of choices if you decide to choose a family to adopt your baby. An adoption provider should never choose a family for you if you express interest in choosing the adoptive family, and you should never feel pressured to place your baby with any family that you don’t like. You have the right to choose the family that will adopt your baby, to meet them, and to have ongoing contact with them after your baby is born.
- Red Flag #4: They seem to draw you in with things like promises of money, luxurious places to live during your pregnancy and other reimbursement. Some unethical adoption agencies attract prospective birth parents with large budgets, luxurious living accommodations and other promises of money. While these things may seem attractive, beware of how these things can impact your decision-making process, and how some agencies may use them to influence you if you decide to change your mind later. Ethical adoption agencies are allowed to provide pregnant women with financial assistance related to medical care and basic living expenses- if your adoption agency is promising something that seems too good to be true, it might be a red flag.
- Red Flag #5: They pressure you to make decisions quickly. Making decisions about placing your baby for adoption should go as quickly or as slowly as you want them to. If you feel like your agency is pressuring you to make decisions too quickly, or if you feel pressured into signing documents before you’re ready, it may be a red flag. Remember that you have the right to contact a different adoption agency or professional for advice at any time during the adoption process. If you think your agency has pressured you into making decisions too quickly, you can ask for more advice.
- Red Flag #6: Your counseling sessions seem impersonal, too brief and/or don’t address your concerns. You should always feel comfortable with your adoption counselor. Adoption counseling sessions can begin on the phone, via email, text-message or private online conversations- especially when you’re just beginning to learn more about placing a baby for adoption. However, if you decide to move forward with an adoption plan, you should always meet your adoption counselor in person, and feel confident that your questions and concerns are being addressed. Your adoption counselor is there to support you every step of the way, whether you choose adoption or not.
- Red Flag #7: They only offer one type of adoption plan for your baby. Every adoption is unique, and every adoption starts with a unique adoption plan. If your adoption agency only discusses one type of adoption plan, whether it’s simply closed-adoption or simply open-adoption, it may be a red flag. Adoption is a lifelong journey built on a personal relationship between birth parents, adoptive parents and adopted children. Your adoption agency should recognize your unique needs and desires and help you to plan an adoption that fulfills your personal wishes.
- Red Flag #8: They don’t offer ongoing support for birthparents after the adoption takes place. Adoption doesn’t end once your baby goes home with his or her adoptive family. If your agency doesn’t provide ongoing counseling and support for birth parents in the days, weeks, months and years after an adoption takes place, it might be a red flag.
Remember this: adoption is not giving up.
If you would like more information about making an adoption plan for your baby, contact us whenever you’re ready.