Common Adoptive Parent Questions
How do I start the adoption process?
You begin by contacting our agency via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at (505) 821-7779 and requesting our application packet. This packet includes our agency brochure, fee sheet appropriate to your situation, application for adoption, and two questionnaires to be completed by you and your spouse which start the pre-placement study process. Once you receive these items, please complete them and return them to AAA to be processed. You will be notified whether or not your application is approved.
Is there a waiting list?
There is normally a waiting list. Please call AAA for more information.
Can we get copies of all of our paperwork along the way?
We will send you a packet of paperwork after the placement of your child, which will include all of your documents you completed and your pre-placement study. If for any reason you would like copies of documents before that time, or need something specific, please call the office to have this done for you. If you need documents sent to another entity, we will need you to sign a release, but then we would be more than happy to do this for you.
Will we have to have more than one Pre-Placement Study completed during this adoption process?
Your pre-placement study (PPS), once completed and if it is approved, according to New Mexico State Law is good for one year from completion date on PPS. After this first year, you will need to have a pre-placement study update completed. This update is another document, but is significantly less time-intensive and less expensive than the first one. You will not have to attend our orientation again, but a caseworker will have to meet with you and do interviews to see that you are still on the same page as you were before, as far as the adoption goes. You will also have to update your criminal records checks, medicals, pet vaccinations, and child abuse screens as they expire. Our administrative assistant will be notifying you 2 months before anything expires to give you plenty of time to update your paperwork as well. Any documents that expire during that first year will also be addressed in your pre-placement study update.
How does a birthmother/father select our family?
Most of our birthparents want to select the family for their baby. For this reason, once you have an approved pre-placement study, we will request from you a photo album/scrap book that we will use to show your family to birthparents. We have guidelines for you when creating that album and they are provided for you at your adoptive parent orientation. At that time you are also allowed to look at other families albums to get a feel for what we are asking you for. It is important that your album represent your family. There is no formula for what you should put in your album to have a birthparent select your family. The best we can say is this: when it is your birthmother, only you will be the right family for her.
On occasion a birthmother will not want to select the family for her baby. In this case, AAA will choose the family using any criteria that the birthmother has provided for us and the information that we have on each of our families. We choose the family based on the best fit for both baby and adoptive family.
How long will we have to wait to be matched with a birthmother?
We tell families to expect to wait on average, 14 months. This is because we have found that it is much harder for adoptive parents to make it past their first update if they thought they were going to have a baby by then. It is impossible for us to know when a family will get chosen by a birthmother, but we can almost guarantee that it will happen if you are willing to wait. As long as a family stays listed with our agency, we feel certain that you will have a baby, we just can’t say how long it will be until it happens. We have families who have a birthmother select them within days of finishing their approved pre-placement study, and we have had a family who waited two years. Even if your wait is long, know that we are your advocates and are here for you throughout the entire process to support and encourage you all along the way!
Can we list with other agencies, besides AAA, to find a child?
Yes. We encourage adoptive families to look elsewhere as well if that is what they wish to do. AAA wants your family to get a child, and we are happy for you regardless of how it happens. You will have fees with each agency, so one thing you would need to consider would be the financial cost of doing this
Will we have to obtain an attorney?
Yes. You will have to obtain an attorney around the time you receive placement of your baby. We would be happy to provide you with a list of attorneys that we would recommend that are very well versed in adoption law. Feel free to request this ahead of time, and be calling to see what prices are and what services are provided. The birthparents will also need an attorney, and according to New Mexico state law, this attorney cannot be the same one the adoptive parents are using. Please speak with your caseworker and let them know what attorney you are using, so as to avoid this problem.
Are our legal fees included in the adoption fees?
The answer would be no. It is our policy to not contract with attorneys, because we feel that the adoption will be more legally sound if the attorney is not working directly with AAA.)
Common Birthparent Questions
How do I tell the birthfather?
Your personal caseworker will help sort through your unique situation with the father. We will guide and assist you through this process.
How do I handle my adoption plan with my existing children?
We have professional counselors who will guide you through helping your children in an age appropriate manner. We will be sensitive to their developmental level and will work to help your child(ren) feel secure.
What about my family?
This is an intensely emotional time for families. Your caseworker will help you sensitively prepare to share your plan with your family, if you would like us to. We will be glad to meet with them, if you wish, but are able to keep your situation confidential if needed.
Why may adoption be a good choice for me?
- I can feel confident knowing that my child will be raised in stable and loving home by parents who will cherish him/her.
- Right now I am not equipped or ready to be a parent; it is not fair to me or to my baby.
- I love this baby enough to sacrifice my heart and do the best thing for him/her, because I know I cannot give him/her the life she/he deserves.
- I am not financially or emotionally ready to be a parent, I want this baby to have what I cannot yet give.
What kind of emotions can I expect?
You can expect a full range of emotions from joy to grief and loss. Your personal caseworker has worked closely with many birthmothers throughout their adoption experience and stands ready to assist you on your personal journey.
How are adoptive parents approved for adoption?
Adoptive parents are approved by our agency after a home inspection, background checks, and other verification of their identities, character, lifestyle and personal histories. They go through extensive interviews to ensure they are physically, financially and emotionally capable of parenting and can provide a stable, loving and happy home for your baby.
What is the process of adoption for a birthparent?
The first step is to come in and talk with a caseworker about adoption, and if it is the best choice for you and your baby. Then, if you are ready, you may view our approved adoptive families. Know that all adoptive families are thoroughly screened and evaluated. You will be able to meet with them, if you want to. They can have as much or as little involvement in the pregnancy as you are comfortable with. If you would like to move forward with an adoptive plan, we will begin counseling and support.
After the baby is born, you will go to court, with your caseworker and your attorney. This court experience is not the same for birthparents as it is for someone who has broken the law. The judges we work with hold birthparents in high regard, and understand that you have chosen to do what is best for your baby at the expense of your own feelings. The judges want to ensure that you have been made aware of your rights, and that you are certain of your decision to relinquish your rights as a parent. We will be there to support you through this process.
Financial assistance is available until 4 weeks post-partum. If you want to come in for support and/or counseling for the next 18 years, we will welcome you with open arms. We will not leave you alone to deal with your feelings after the baby is born. If you have chosen an open adoption plan, you will begin to receive letters and pictures of the baby.
What happens at the hospital and after?
At most of the hospitals, the birthmother is in charge of her delivery to a large extent. You will be able to determine how many people and who are present during labor and delivery. You will also be able to decide when and how you want to see the baby. Normally, the baby will be kept in the labor and delivery room with you for the recovery period, about two hours. If you desire, the baby may be placed in another room with the adoptive parents. After the recovery period, the baby is usually taken to the nursery for a bath and a full assessment. This takes place as you are being moved to your hospital room.
You and the baby will normally be kept for 24-48 hours for a vaginal delivery and about 3 days for a C-section. You often have some say in how long you stay unless there are complications. During that time, you may see the baby as much as is comfortable for you. When the doctor gives permission, you will be discharged from the hospital. Sometimes the doctor will allow you to discharge early, due to the adoptive situation. You may wish to say goodbye to the baby and/or the adoptive parents. You may wish to take pictures and you may take as many as you like. You may not wish to do any of these things. Just be sure that you get what you need by telling your adoptive parents or your caseworker.
What are my choices when doing an adoption?
- Complete confidentiality, if desired.
- You can select the adoptive family for your child, or ask your caseworker, if you prefer.
- You can meet the adoptive family if you choose.
- You may involve the adoptive family in the pregnancy and birth, if you want.
- You choose your prenatal care, your physician and hospital, your birthing plan and amount of time with your child in the hospital.
- You will receive as much supportive counseling as you wish during the adoption process.
- You will receive specific preparation for the birth and the adoption.
- You may receive some financial support and help for housing, childcare, and relational issues during the adoption.
- You will receive birthing support, if you wish.
- We will interface with the medical staff to help your birthing and adoption plan go smoothly.
- You will receive independent legal counsel to ensure your legal rights are protected, free of charge.
- You may request letters, pictures, and/or some level of structured visits with the adoptive family after the adoption.
- You may receive as much counseling related to the adoption as you wish, free of charge, until the child is 18 years of age.
- You will have a personal caseworker.
- You will have access to a caseworker 24 hours/day; 7 days/week.
What exactly is an open adoption?
There are many aspects of an open adoption, from meeting the adoptive family before the baby is born, to involving them in the doctor visits.
Most open adoptions consist of letters describing how the child is doing, and pictures of the child. These may be delivered to our office or to your home. You may request to receive letters and pictures until the child turns 18. You may request letters and pictures, even if you wish your identity to be kept confidential.
Some birthparents request structured visitation after the baby is born. There may be a one-time visit, or more. These visits are at a neutral location, along with the adoptive family.
You may determine what level of openness you would like, if any. Many birthparents do not wish to have any openness. This is completely understandable, and your choice.