Are you pregnant and unsure what to do? Are you not sure that you are ready to be a parent? Are you feeling scared, confused and overwhelmed by the decisions that you face?
If so, come and talk with a supportive, knowledgeable, caring caseworker at the Good Samaritan Agency who can help you explore your options. Our staff wants to help you in making the best decision for you and your baby. We understand that this is a scary, emotional and confusing time for you and your partner. We want you to have the opportunity to openly discuss and explore your options in a confidential setting. You are under no obligation to make any commitments to a plan of adoption as nothing legally can happen in an adoption until after the baby is born. This is the time to learn about the process and ask questions. If you change your mind at any time about your adoption plan, our caseworkers will support you and help you to build a support system and find the necessary services to help you parent your child.
If I am considering making an adoption plan for my baby, what should I do?
The best place to start would be to contact the agency and schedule time to meet with a caseworker. This will give you the opportunity to talk with someone who can answer your questions about the process and support you as you begin to make your plan. It is best to start this process during your pregnancy, but we can still work with you to make a plan of adoption after your baby has been born.
Can I choose the adoptive parents for my baby?
Yes, you can be as involved as you would like to be in the selection process. After talking with your caseworker about what you are looking for in an adoptive family, your caseworker will select profiles for you to view. Profiles are prepared by the adoptive families and give you personal information to help select the adoptive parents for your baby. If you prefer not to view profiles, the agency will select a family from our waiting families. All adoptive families approved to adopt a child go through an extensive homestudy process, which includes personal interviews, background checks and a visit to their home.
Will I have to go to court?
Yes, the adoption process is a legal process handled by the Probate Court system and you will be required to go to court to complete the Surrender and Release. Your caseworker will talk with you and prepare you for this day. After your baby is born and you are ready to move forward, your caseworker will go over the required paperwork with you and submit the necessary paperwork to the court requesting a court date. This typically happens about one month after the baby is born. Your caseworker will attend court with you as a support. You will meet with the Judge and court clerk alone. After you sign the Surrender and Release before the Judge, you have three days to revoke your decision. After that time frame elapses, the adoption cannot be revoked. Birth father rights must also be addressed by the court.
Do I have to involve the baby’s father?
Yes, birth father’s have rights too that must be addressed during the adoption process. Birth fathers do not have to appear in court as thhe can complete a Waiver of Notice form (that must be notarized) that can be sent to the court with the Birth mother’s paperwork. If you are not involved with the Birth father or he is unaware of the pregnancy and plan of adoption, your caseworker can contact him to begin this process. If the birthfather is not known or cannot be located, the court will require a publication to occur allowing him time to come forward and assert his parental right. If he does not come forward after a waiting period has elapsed, the adoption can proceed.
Can I see my baby at the hospital?
Yes, we encourage you to spend time with your baby at the hospital, although it is always your choice. Your caseworker will talk with you prior to delivery to make a plan of how you would like things handled at the hospital. Your caseworker can contact the hospital ahead of time to make it known to hospital staff about your plan of adoption and your wishes before/during/after delivery.
Can I have an open adoption?
Yes, we will talk with you about what type of contact you would like to have with your child after placement. Openness in adoption can means lots of different things, like receiving photos and periodic updates about your child through the agency, having some contact directly (like through email or text messaging) with the adoptive family to a completely open adoption where names and identifying information are shared openly. Adoptive families are open to varying degrees of openness with birth families, so we would try to match you with a family that would be open to your requests.
What if I change my mind about adoption?
We want you to be comfortable with your decision as it is a lifelong decision. If you decide that adoption is not the best choice for you, your caseworker will support you in any way that she can. Your caseworker can continue working with you to provide education, support or referral services even after you decide to parent.
The only time that you would not be able to change your mind about an adoption plan would be if you have already gone to court, signed the Surrender and Release and the three day waiting period had elapsed. At that point, the adoption is irrevocable.
What happens after the baby is born?
Depending on the circumstances, the baby will either go home with the adoptive parents or go to a temporary foster home selected by Good Samaritan Agency. If the baby goes home with the adoptive parents, this is called a legal risk placement, as you would not yet have gone to court to surrender your parental rights. The adoptive parents would be advised of the risks in such a placement.
What are the costs for me to make an adoption plan for my baby?
There are no costs to you. All birth parent services, including supportive counseling, are provided to you at no cost.