The Adoption Process from the Birthparent Perspective
- One hour session mandated by law. Average birthmother receives 4 hours of adoption counseling and the average birthfather receives about 2 hours as that is all they are usually available for. We like to provide more counseling but it is at the request of the birthparent and is discretionary.
- Counseling content.
An initial session for information and/or intake.
Assessment of the desires of the birthparent regarding adoption- how sure or unsure.
Answer questions and provide information as requested.
Assessment of the basic needs of the birthmother:
- Is there a stable living situation with adequate shelter, food, and clothing?
- Does the birthparent have a means or access to a means of transportation?
- How are medical needs being met?
A second session is used at a time when the birthparent indicates a readiness to view albums of prospective families. ( This may or may not be accomplished in one session and may be addressed in the first session if birthparent indicates readiness.)
* A third session is used to prepare the Counseling Affidavit by means of an interview done with the birthparent. (Mandated by law).
A fourth session is used to:
- Determine the birthparents’ (usually the birthmother’s) wishes regarding emotional and physical support during labor and delivery and the hospital stay, contact with the baby, adoptive parents, etc.
- Review and signing of documents, if this has not been completed.
- Interview regarding open adoption requests to confirm information gathered initially.
- Grief Counseling.
Any additional sessions are used for building support and for meeting all of the counseling needs listed above in a more relaxed fashion.
Time spent walking a client through various procedures with support. Examples: applying for Medicaid, procuring living arrangements, meeting the adoptive family, negotiating open adoption issues, facilitating meeting with attorney for independent legal counsel, transportation/support at hospital/labor & delivery, support for relinquishment process, etc.
- Medical Release of Information on birthmother and child.
Used to satisfy (in part) FULL DISCLOSURE laws which state that all the available physical, psychological, medical history, etc. related to the child must be provided the prospective adoptive family.
- Medical and Social Background Form on each birthparent.
Used to satisfy FULL DISCLOSURE laws by providing information (if available) on each birthparent and their extended family.
- Affidavit of Biological Mother Identifying Biological Father.
A legal statement made by the birthmother regarding the identity of the birthfather so that his legal rights may be properly addressed according to the law.
- Affidavit For the Release of Parent Information.
Completed by each birthparent who is doing a voluntary relinquishment and consent to adoption in order to identify for the court and the agency what their wishes are concerning the release of identifying information about themselves to the child and/or the adoptive family.
- Birthparent Counseling Affidavit
Documents for the court regarding the thinking process involved in the choice of adoption and of the adoptive family. The content is mandated by law.
- Relinquishment of Parental Rights and Consent to Adoption.
Reviewed and explained in the Independent Legal Counsel provided for the birthparent. The birthparent may choose their own attorney or have the placement worker choose the attorney and arrange the appointment. Usually a different attorney is used for each birthparent and it must be a different attorney than the one used by the adoptive parents. This document may not be signed prior to 48 hours after the birth of the child and is preferably signed before a judge. The birthparent’s attorney may accompany them and so may the placement worker.
- Optional- Open Adoption Agreement
If visitation with the adoptee is contemplated, this contractural arrangement between the birthparent and the adoptive family is required. The terms of visitation must be as specific as is reasonable. Terms regarding the exchange of letters and pictures may be included in this agreement but an open adoption agreement is only required when visitation is contemplated. The adoptive parents’ attorney will normally arrange for a Guardian ad litem who represents the interests of the child in this contractural agreement, making it a three-party contract in a sense. The Guardian ad litem (GAL) will interview the birthparent and the adoptive parents to make a determination as to whether the agreement is in the best interest of the child. The GAL will make a recommendation to the court and the agreement will then be approved or not approved by the judge. If the agreement is not approved, the agreement must be renegotiated.
- Follow up with the birthparent is supportive in nature and is at the discretion of the birthparent.
- Follow up with the adoptive family is called Post Placement Supervision and will be conducted through phone calls and visits to the adoptive home with an assessment of the attachment and bonding occurring between the adoptive family and the adoptee, as well as an assessment of the physical, emotional, and mental care, nurturing and progress of the adoptee. Near the end of the Post Placement period which normally lasts an average of 4-6 months, but which can vary for a number of reasons, a Post Placement Report for the Court is prepared summarizing the findings of the Post Placment Supervision.