In most domestic adoption situations, if you want, you can choose the adoptive parent(s). This may be done through reviewing adoptive parent(s) profiles at an adoption agency or with an attorney (where allowed), looking for an adoptive family on the Internet or by asking everyone you know (“word of mouth”) if they know anyone who wants to adopt. Through any of these means, you can connect with a prospective adoptive parent.
Part of your process of making an adoption decision will include discussion of how you will find a family and if you want to meet them. The amount of contact can vary from just a phone call, to face-to-face meetings during the pregnancy, and contact continuing after the baby’s birth. The degree of “openness” in the adoption will be based on your comfort level, and that of the adoptive parent(s).
If you connect with a prospective parent through word of mouth or the Internet, you will have the opportunity to email and talk to one another. If you are matched with prospective parents through an agency or attorney, you and the prospective adoptive family will have the option of speaking and meeting. If you both agree, the agency or attorney can assist in these contacts. Meetings can occur during the pregnancy and after. You can also decide to have the adoptive parent(s) at the birth of your baby. You might also want them to meet your extended family or other children, giving them a better sense of who you are and your family background. You can also plan for phone calls, emails, letters and meetings after the child is placed into the adoptive family.
Some states actually require a Post Adoption Contact Agreement, which specifies the extent and frequency of the contact after the baby is placed into the adoptive home. In states or situations where no agreement is needed, you may still arrange for contact over the years. This may include the sending of photos and letters, or meetings with your child. You may also want to arrange a way to share medical information or a way for the adoptive parent(s) to obtain medical information from you should the need arise in the future. You can set an agency, attorney or independent person or entity as the “point of sharing.” As your child grows, and depending upon circumstances, there may be a need to revisit the plan, adding or limiting contacts.
Decisions on how much contact to have during the adoption process or after your child is living in their new home can be difficult. Counseling is available to you during the decision making phase to help you think through your options. This counseling is typically offered through an adoption agency or paid for by the adopting parent(s).
You may also decide not to talk to or meet the adoptive parents. However, choosing the adoptive parent(s) may help to alleviate some of your concerns about who will be raising your child. Maintaining contact allows you to know how your child is doing and reassures you that you made the right choice.