The Adoption Experience for Birthparents
Please ask your social worker if you have concerns.
Keep this guide handy as you work through your adoption.
What’s the first step?
If you’re curious about adoption, your first step is to call Adoption Link at 1-800-643-3356. We will assign a social worker to meet with you and talk about the adoption process.
Paperwork: You will meet with an Adoption Link social worker to work on the Social Medical History (JFS 1616) as well as the Adoption Law and Materials Guide (JFS 1693) and look over other forms, such as the openness plan. We try to have all the forms completed before we get to the hospital. If not, we can always do the forms right before or soon after the baby is born.
Choosing a Family
We will show you all the profile books of families who are waiting to adopt. You can ask to interview them over the phone or in person or both. Your social worker will make arrangements for you to meet as many families as you want until you meet the right family that’s right for you.
The Matching Meeting
The meeting will take place at a neutral location, such as a favorite restaurant. You can bring questions that you have for the adoptive family. At the end of the meeting the social worker will suggest exchanging cell phone numbers so that you can reach the adoptive parents if you have additional questions.
Smile and get to know them. You can ask questions about them or their profile book. You can bring up topics such as openness as well as names for the baby—anything that you want to know.
Learn how Adoption Link can immediately assist you.
It is not uncommon to have concerns about costs when you are dealing with an unexpected pregnancy. Your relationship with Adoption Link will not cost you anything. All counseling, support, referrals and legal services will be at no cost to you.
Adoption Link will be able to assist you with your medical bills and your pregnancy related living expenses.
In Ohio, birthmothers are entitled to receive up to $3,000.00 for living expenses such as rent, utilities, food, transportation and maternity clothes. Please let your Adoption Link social worker know if you are in need of assistance before or after your baby is born.
If you have not already started with your prenatal care, make sure you ask your social worker to connect you with an OB care provider that delivers at your preferred hospital.
If everyone is feeling comfortable, it is a great idea for you to share in OB care appointments with the adoptive family whom you have chosen.
The day has arrived and your baby is due. This is an exciting time for everyone but also a time that can triggers lots of emotion. The hospital stay is a time for birthparents and the birth family to spend with the baby. You may invite the adoptive family to spend time with you and your baby at the hospital. Usually, you will stay at the hospital 24-28 hours after the baby is born. You can discharge from the hospital with the baby or you can allow the baby to go home with the adoptive family after you leave—it’s up to you.
**The adoptive parents relatives are not invited to the hospital at all.
Labor: If you have enough support at the hospital, your Adoption Link social worker will come and see you after you have had a chance to rest. If you need support at the hospital and you have no one else to be with you, your social worker is happy to attend your birth. The Adoption Link social workers do not come for the labor as the room gets pretty crowded. We will be available to support birthmom during labor if she does not have a doula (birthing coach) or a support team in place.
When will an Adoption Link social worker come to the hospital?
You will see an Adoption Link social worker everyday that you are in the hospital. You will most likely see the hospital social worker as well when you are there. The Adoption Link social workers do not come for the labor as the room gets pretty crowded. We will be available to support birthmom during labor if she does not have a doula (birthing coach) or a support team in place.
What to bring to the hospital:
Bring your medical insurance card to the hospital. If you don’t have insurance, ask to speak with the financial services person so that you can apply for Medicaid and/or HCAP.
Openness Agreement: If we have not already done so, we will put the finishing touches on the openness agreement at the hospital and ask everyone to sign it.
What can I expect from an Open Adoption?
The Adoption Link Standard Openness Agreement: At minimum, unless otherwise indicated by the birthparents, Pictures and Letters will be sent to the birthmother and/or birthfather by the Adoptive Family once per month for the first twelve months after placement and four times a year (quarterly) thereafter. Face to face contact may occur at minimum of twice per year. Visits can be held wherever everyone is comfortable, in the adoptive family home, a park or restaurant.
At the Hospital
A hospital social worker will make contact with you birthmother at the hospital to help with the adoption plan and make sure things go as smoothly as possible. Your Adoption Link social worker will come to the hospital to work on forms such as the temporary care agreement.
Naming the Baby
Birthmother and Birthfather (if available) name the baby. ANY first, middle and last name can go on the birth certificate for the child section. You may ask the adoptive family help you name the baby- OR- you may want to work with birthmother to come up with the child’s full name together before the baby is born. In summary, you have every right to name the baby at birth and the adoptive family can name the baby when they finalize their adoption. However, it is nice to have some discussion before hand. On the original birth certificate, after the baby’s name, birthmother will put her full legal name. If birthmother is not married, the birthfather section should say “unknown” so that a CSEA case does not get started.
Social Security Numbers for the baby: Make sure you say “Yes” when asked if you want a SS number issued for your child. Once you get the number you can forward it onto the adoptive family. They often need this number so that they can add the baby to their insurance policy.
Leaving the Hospital: The birthmother may leave the hospital at 24 to 48 hours after birth, depending on how she is feeling. The baby may stay longer, depending on his or her health.
The Surrender: Birthmother is usually able to sign the surrender documents 72 hours after the baby is born. The birthmothers Attorney and an Adoption Link social worker usually meet at birthmothers’ home or hospital to discuss and sign the final papers. The adoptive family and the baby do not come to this meeting.
Living Expenses: Your social worker will bring the living expenses allowance to give to you at the surrender meeting or it will be mailed to you. Learn more
Additional thoughts on Adoption:
The Adoption Option: An Alternative Parenting Decision
I. How and why birthparents come to the decision of adoption.
An unplanned pregnancy can bring a range of reactions. People need to adjust emotionally and financially, as well as structurally - adjusting anticipated life plans for education, marriage, employment, or just the timing of those things. Sometimes these adjustments are devastating to one's hopes and dreams for the future.
Sometimes there is a recognition that the best interest of the baby or the birthparents would not be served by parenting the baby. This could be a matter of finances, emotional duress, life circumstances, or just timing. When an adoption is planned, it is ultimately a selfless decision made out of prioritizing the love and caring for the baby. Although it is not parenting per se, it is indeed a parenting decision.
II. How does adoption Work?
Adoption involves a decision to legally terminate one's rights as a parent. It is finalized in a court of law, and with a judge's oversight that the plan is in the best interest of the baby. It is a legally binding and permanent decision.
At the same time, open adoption involves various levels of contact and involvement, such that all ties are not completely severed. Open adoptions, as they are planned these days, do not involve a cut-off relationship. At the same time, the nature of the relationship is different. Open adoption is not co-parenting. It is also not legally binding decision in the state of Ohio, but more of a plan carved out of a mutual caring for the baby, and a trust for one another's intent. Often, through the planning and carrying out of an open adoption, a bond of life-long friendship is forged between the adoptive family and the birth family.
The nature of openness in adoption is designed to serve the emotional needs of the child. In an open adoption, a child knows from an early age where he/she came from, and has an opportunity to explore his origins within the loving, trusting family where they grow. They learn that their parents adopted them out of love, and that their birthparents planned for their adoption out of love. They also gain an understanding that it is natural to want to know where one originated from. It makes sense to them, and does not cause confusion. Usually open adoptions evolve into relationships of knowing each other in the way that cousins may know one another throughout life.
III. Emotional/Social Aspects of Adoption
There is loss in the decision to plan for an adoption of a baby. Birth parents live with a decision that ends their rights as a parent to this child, and lose the ability to know intimate details of the child's daily lives. At the same time, they gain the awareness that they made a decision in the best interest of a baby whose life they value over their own considerations.
Some birth parents experience shame and guilt as well - feeling they were not able to provide for their child. These emotions are difficult to address without a network of supportive friends and family who understand the nature of the decision.
IV. A Word About Open Adoption
There was a time when shame was a big part of an adoption plan, but that is changing. In our society the option of alternative caregivers for our kids (usually grandparents or other close relatives) has existed for centuries.
The option of choosing those caregivers from the general public is more recent. When adoption became more private and anonymous among unrelated people in the 1950's, there was a certain amount of shame associated with it.
That has changed a great deal in the past 20 years. Open adoption has allowed for a life time of reassuring contact between birth parents and children. Openness has helped to dispel a lot of the myths surrounding adoptions. Birth parents are part of the process, and are recognized as an important part of the ongoing relationship constellation. Society is recognizing the positive nature of adoption in general, and open adoption more specifically. As people understand the process, there is less shame and fear.
Please contact Naomi at 937-767-2466 or 1-800-643-3356 or your social worker if you have any other questions.