Adoption laws vary by state. And every adoption situation is unique. The following information is NOT legal advice. When you work with us, we refer you to an adoption attorney who will advise you on your specific case. We provide legal services at no charge to you.
Your Rights In Adoption As A Birth Parent
Adoption laws vary from state to state within the U.S. However, in most cases a pregnant individual can’t sign any legal documents related to adoption until after the baby’s birth. A prospective birth father may, in some states, be able to sign some paperwork before the birth.
We encourage birth parents to make an adoption plan with the understanding that the final legal paperwork cannot be signed until after the birth. Once the baby is born, if you want to move forward with your adoption plan, arrangements will be made for you to sign the legal papers.
There are many preliminary steps you might take while deciding if making an adoption plan is right for you and your newborn or already-born infant. These include:
- Talking with agency staff about your options and getting referrals for services
- Reviewing profiles and/or talking with families looking to adopt
- Providing a medical release to allow the agency to obtain your prenatal/medical records
- Providing medical, social, and family histories
- Receiving counseling on how to cope with any stresses or challenges due to your pregnancy
None of these beginning steps obligates you to make an adoption plan for your child.
Before signing any legal documents that finalize an adoption plan for your child, you have the right, as a prospective birth parent, to receive from us the following confidential services, at no cost to you:
- Options and supportive counseling by qualified, independent professionals
- Legal representation to ensure that you understand your legal rights before you sign the adoption papers
- We arrange for you to have a qualified adoption attorney represent you at no charge. This attorney protects your rights as a birth parent. They do not represent the agency or the prospective adoptive parents
- If the biological father is not involved, the attorney will assess the biological father’s rights, whether he must receive notice of the adoption, and/or whether he must consent to it. This assessment ensures that the adoption is secure for you and your infant. When appropriate, the biological father may be included in the adoption decision-making and planning process
- Contact with birth parents who have placed a child for adoption, if you wish, for support
- Profiles of prospective adoptive families, whose backgrounds have been assessed and whose emotional and financial stability has been reviewed
- If you don’t have private medical insurance or Medicaid coverage, referrals to state/federal organizations so you can apply for programs that will provide you with the medical coverage that you need
- Financial assistance for legally-allowable pregnancy and birth-related expenses including medical bills (if you are not eligible for state/federal assistance)
- Knowledge that if your baby is not born healthy, you will receive support from us, twenty-four hours a day, and a family for your child who is ready, willing, and capable of parenting a health-impaired or special needs child
- Information about open adoption and how post-adoption contact agreements work so you and the prospective adoptive family can agree on how you will stay in touch
- Knowledge that we provide lifelong adoption service to you, the birth parent
For More Information About Adoption Rights For Birth Parents
The legal landscape for adoption is a patchwork of state laws that differ on essentials like the birth father’s involvement and allowable financial assistance for living and/or medical expenses. That’s why we refer you to an attorney who specializes in adoption. You get excellent legal advice at no charge. Contact our helpful, friendly staff for answers to your adoption-related questions.