Resources for Birthparents, Adoptive Families, Relatives, and Friends
If you want more information about adoption or just need someone to talk to, we’re here to help. Call 1-866-355-7965 between 7am and 2am EST to talk to a real person who can help answer your questions, find an adoption agency for you, or just listen to your hopes and fears.
In the meantime, we've put together some resources that might be helpful to you. You can also check out frequently asked questions about adoption, or find an adoption agency near you who can help answer your questions about adoption.
As you consider your options, including adoption, keep in mind that you have rights. If you make an adoption plan, you have the right to:
- Be free from any pressure or coercion.
- Place your child through an adoption agency or private adoption arranged by an attorney.
- Your own attorney, though you may also refuse legal representation if you choose.
- Counseling, before, during, and after the adoption.
- Approve the parents who will adopt your child, know their names, religion, etc., and even meet them if you want to.
- Create a written adoption agreement, which allows you to share pictures, letters, and maybe even have future contact with the adoptive family.
- Financial help with certain reasonable expenses.
- See or not see your child before you place him or her for adoption.
- Decide to parent your child yourself at any time before you sign a consent or surrender and complete the revocation period.
- How can you help me?
- Can you refer me to a counselor?
- Do I need a lawyer?
- Do my parents have to know?
- Does the father of the baby need to know?
- Will you help me talk to my family?
- Will you help me talk to the father of the baby?
- What services are available to me?
- Do I have to pay for any of these services?
- Can I receive counseling after the baby is born?
- Can I receive counseling after the adoption has taken place?
- What if I decide to parent?
- Can I choose an adoptive family for my baby?
- Can I see my child after he or she is born?
- Can I have contact with my child after the adoption is finalized?
The rights of birthfathers vary by state. Any father can be involved in an adoption plan if the birthmother agrees, although this is not always possible. Some birthfathers have the right to be notified if a child has been conceived or the child's mother is making an adoption plan, but many states require fathers to assert their parental rights within a given time frame, by registering with the state putative father registry or taking necessary steps to establish paternity.
If someone has fathered a child whose mother is considering adoption, then he should also share her concern for the child they have together. Even if the two are no longer involved, their child needs them to make important decisions about the child's future.
Ideally, if an adoption plan is made for a child, the birthfather will be involved in the counseling process from the beginning. In this way he can offer ongoing support to the child’s mother and ensure that his own wishes and rights are considered. Then the father and mother can consider their options together, and make the best possible plan for their child.
For the Birthparent’s Families
The parents of a woman facing an unintended pregnancy, like the father of her child, will often have an enormous influence on her and her decision-making process.
As biological grandparents, your parents cannot make decisions regarding the future of your child. But they can be involved in the counseling process, in which they play an extremely important role. You may wish for their help and support as you learn to look beyond the challenges of an unintended pregnancy to make responsible and necessary long-term decisions for you and your baby. You may ask for your family’s advice or guidance as you plan for the future.
If you choose to parent, your family may offer you assistance in providing childcare for the baby. If an adoption plan is made, you will also appreciate their understanding and encouragement.
For the Birthparent's Friends
For many women facing an unintended pregnancy, in particular teenagers, the counsel of friends and peers carries great weight. In a 2005 study conducted by Spaulding for Children, participants were asked with whom they would feel most comfortable sharing news of an unplanned pregnancy. The highest percentage, nearly 55%, listed a close friend.
Hopefully your friends and those close to you will try their best to support you during this challenging time. As your peers and closest friends, their opinions will naturally be extremely important to you. Make sure they know that you may ask for their help, that you trust them and want to confide in them, and that you need their support, whatever you decide.
Your friends cannot make your decisions for you, and they may not always agree with you, but you may feel comforted and more confident just by knowing that they are on your side. Hopefully they will do whatever they can to help support you and your choices.