10 Important Rights You Have When Giving Up a Baby for Adoption
If you’re interested in learning more about making an adoption plan for your baby, it’s important to remember that you have many rights in the adoption process. These rights are both ethical and legal. This means the professionals who give you advice about adoption are obligated to guide you with compassion and care, and any adoption professional or organization you work with is required to follow legal guidelines that protect you at every step. Here are some important rights that you have during the adoption planning process:
- You have the right to work with a licensed, non-profit adoption agency.
- If you are thinking about adoption for your baby, keep in mind that many unlicensed organizations and individuals may attempt to provide information about adoption to you in hopes that you will choose to place your baby for adoption using their services. Unlicensed organizations and individuals earn a great deal of money by encouraging pregnant women to choose adoption. Always ask the organization you are working with if they are licensed to make adoption placements in the state in which you live.
- You have the right to receive free, in-person adoption counseling.
- Adoption counseling should always be free. Free of costs, free from pressure, and free of influence. You always have the right to receive in-person counseling from a licensed adoption counselor. If you choose adoption for your baby, you also have the right to receive continued emotional support services after the adoption takes place, for as long as you need them.
- You have the right to receive financial assistance if you choose to make an adoption plan.
- If you decide to make an adoption plan for your baby, you have the right to receive financial assistance with basic living and medical expenses during your pregnancy and shortly after your baby’s birth. Basic living expenses may include things like housing, food and some clothing items.
- You have the right to make your own decisions about your labor, hospital and delivery experience.
- If you decide to place your baby for adoption, you have the right to plan your labor and delivery experience. Many women considering adoption believe they must travel to a hospital located near the adoptive family or allow the adoptive family in the hospital room during their labor and delivery. Your labor and delivery experience is 100% in your control- you get to decide where you give birth, who is present at your baby’s delivery, whether or not you hold and feed your baby, and what happens after delivery. To read more about planning your hospital stay, check out this blog post.
- You have the right to wait until you are comfortable to sign any paperwork.
- Regardless of where you are in the decision-making process, you have the right to wait until you are comfortable to sign any paperwork. An ethical adoption agency will wait for at least 24 hours after you give birth to allow you to recuperate before reviewing adoption paperwork with you.
- You have the right to request that your baby is placed in temporary, specialized foster care if you need more time to make your decision, and the right to visit your baby there.
- If you aren’t sure about an adoption plan for your baby, you have the right to work with an agency that offers specialized, temporary foster care (known as “interim care”). This kind of temporary care allows you more time to consider your adoption decision and to visit your baby before he or she goes home with the adoptive family or with you.
- You have the right to your own attorney to represent your legal rights.
- If you are thinking about placing your baby through a private adoption without an agency, we urge you not to waive your right to an attorney. In a private adoption, the attorney working with the adoptive family has a legal obligation to protect the interests of the family, not to you. In this situation, the adoptive family should pay the fees for you to have your own attorney. This is especially important if you are considering adoption for a teen pregnancy.
- You have the right to a legally-binding agreement about what kind of contact you will have with your baby.
- A legally-binding contract that outlines what kind of contact an adoptive family will have with birthparents after an adoption is finalized is called a post-placement contact agreement. Post-placement contact agreements are different for every adoption situation. It is rare for you to get everything you want in this kind of agreement, but the adoptive family’s wishes shouldn’t be the only consideration, either. Remember that giving up legal custody of your baby through an adoption plan shouldn’t mean agreeing to never see them again, unless that is what you want. Learn more about open adoption.
- You have the right to revoke your consent to the adoption within a certain number of days if you change your mind, even if you have received financial assistance.
- Once you have signed an adoption consent, which is a legal document that allows the adoption to move forward, you have time to change your mind. This time is known as the revocation period. It is important to understand this, and to be aware of your state’s revocation period. Birth parents in Maryland have thirty days to change their minds, and birth parents in DC and Virginia have 7-10 days. If an adoption facilitator asks you to waive your state rights, make sure you know what the other state’s “revocation period” will be; if you are not comfortable with its length, you have every right to refuse.
- You have the right to be respected, regardless of your pregnancy decisions.
- Whether you choose adoption for your baby or not, we understand that every pregnancy is complicated. No organization or individual should make your decision more complicated by making you feel guilty about the choices you are making now- or have made in the past. Adoptions Together supports all of your pregnancy options, and is here to help you make the decision that is right for you.
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.