While many pregnant women make adoption plans during the pregnancy, in actuality, the decision to place your baby for adoption is made after giving birth. In other words, even if you make an adoption plan, you are not signing papers until after the birth.
In a PRIVATE PLACEMENT ADOPTION, you work with a single or couple who are seeking to adopt. You will connect with them at some point during your pregnancy. Together with the assistance of an attorney or adoption agency, you will decide if you feel comfortable placing your baby in this home and the prospective parents will decide if they feel comfortable adopting your child. The attorneys, one for you and a separate one for the adopting parent(s), will explain the legalities of the adoption and handle the legal adoption process. They can refer you or the prospective parent(s) for counseling or other needed services. An adoption agency will provide counseling and oversight of your medical care, living arrangements and other allowable services. At the time of the birth, you will be counseled again on your rights prior to signing relinquishment papers, turning custody over to the prospective adoptive parent(s) or to the adoption agency. State regulations vary as to how long after the birth you can sign the papers. Once signed, typically, the baby will leave the hospital with the adoptive parent(s). If they live in a different state from the one where the baby is born, they will need to wait for ICPC interstate approval prior to returning to their home state.
FOSTER CARE PLACEMENTS can be planned for prior to birth, but the final decision to place a child into foster care is made after the birth of the child, unless children’s services has determined it would be a danger for the child to go home with you. In that case, the child is placed directly into a foster care home and long range planning begins. Whether your decision or not, if your child is placed in foster care, you will receive counseling on what that means in terms of your rights, visitation and planning for adoption or to take your child home.
SAFE HAVEN is a national program that allows you to place your infant in the hands of a “safe haven” location without having to provide your name or sign any papers. The infant must be in good physical condition. You have a specified period of time to return and ask for custody of the infant. If you do not do so, the local court will terminate your parental rights and locate a permanent adoptive home for the infant. State regulations vary in terms of the age of the infant and the time period to return and ask for custody. Safe Haven can also refer you to services during your pregnancy or after the birth of your child. REFERRALS FOR COUNSELING AND ADOPTION SERVICES can also be found at www.amtchildrenofhope.com.