Our adoption caseworkers receive countless questions every day from birthmothers who are considering placing their child for adoption. While every situation is unique, we wanted to address the most common of these questions in order to give birthmothers a sense for how the adoption process works at Building Blocks Adoption Service. If you have more questions or would like to talk to one of our adoption caseworkers, we are always here for you.
1. Am I able to choose the adoptive family for my child?
Yes! The birthmother not only chooses which family she feels is best for her child, but she also has the final say. Our adoption case workers help each birthmother sort through the hundreds of waiting adoptive parents to find the perfect family for her child. Each of the adoptive families registered with Building Blocks Adoption Service have passed all background checks, including home visits. Each of our families is prescreened to meet all state mandated education requirements. Sometimes a birthmother will come to us with an adoptive family already in mind, and we are happy to assist with those independent private adoptions as well.
2. The birthfather is opposed to the adoption. Now what?
For many women considering placing their child for adoption, the birthfather may be unknown, uninvolved, and sometimes even unsupportive of the decision to place the child for adoption. In such cases, the father will need to assert his rights as a parent by registering with the Putative Father Registry in Ohio. From there, he will need to show to the court that he has supported the birthmother, financially and emotionally, throughout the pregnancy. The birthfather cannot force the birthmother to raise the child, but he can file for custody of the child and, if granted, assume responsibility for the child once it’s born.
3. Are grandparents able to prevent an adoption?
No. Grandparents do not have rights when it comes to a birthparent placing a child for adoption, even when the birthparent is a minor above the age of 12.
4. How are my expenses covered during my pregnancy and throughout the adoption process?
In the state of Ohio, up to $3,000 of a birthmother’s living expenses are allowed to be covered by the adoptive family. These expenses must occur during the pregnancy or up to 60 days after the birth of the child. In addition to these living expenses paid for by the adoptive parents, all medical and legal costs are also completely covered by the adoptive family. Health insurance, whether carried through the birthmother or adoptive family, may be used to cover medical costs as well.
5. Will I need to appear in court to finalize the adoption?
Adoption is a legal process, and like any other major legal decision, it requires the help of an attorney. A court must approve the adoption before it can become finalized. At Building Blocks Adoption Service, we help birthmothers avoid appearing in court by providing the services of an adoption attorney who will complete a permanent surrender and file your paperwork with the court on your behalf. In most cases handled by our agency, birthmothers will not need to appear in court.
6. What happens if I change my mind after I’ve signed the adoption papers?
If a birthparent changes their mind after providing consent, they may try to withdraw consent for adoption placement. However, while not impossible, such attempts are almost never successful. Prior to the judge issuing an “interlocutory order” (30-45 days after placement) or to the final adoption decree going into effect (usually six months after placement), the birthparent may attempt to withdraw consent. In order to be successful, a birthparent will need to demonstrate with “clear and convincing evidence” that either the best interests of the child have changed or that the birthparent provided consent due to “gross error or fraud,” whether caused by the adoption agency or the adoption attorney. Once a permanent surrender is signed by the birthmother, she would have to petition the court to revoke her surrender, providing evidence she was forced or coerced into signing the surrender. Because it is so difficult to withdraw consent for adoption once it is given, Building Blocks Adoption Service strongly urges birthparents to consider providing consent to be a permanent and final decision.
7. Will I be able to spend time with the baby before signing the adoption papers?
Of course. The birthmother may see her child as much as she wants in the hospital. Some birthmothers take this time to capture photos of the child, some even order hospital portraits. The birthfather, as well as any other family who wishes to see the baby, is also permitted to spend time with the child, if the birthmother allows it. Once the birthmother signs the permanent surrender, the custody of the child belongs to the agency, and we place the child in the care of the adoptive parents.
8. Can I name my child?
A birthmother is allowed to provide a name for the original birth certificate and has a right to receive a copy of the original birth certificate. The adoptive parents are not required to keep the name chosen by the birthmother. The birthfather may sign the original birth certificate and may even participate in naming the child, if the birthmother allows it. In some cases, the birthmother will work together with the adoptive family to choose a name together.
9. What items can I send along with my child?
Depending on how open a birthmother’s adoption plan is, a birthmother can pass along whatever she wishes to the child, but the adoptive parents cannot be forced to give the items to the child. Many birthmothers, together with their family, create a scrapbook with family pictures and stories. Sometimes, birthmothers will keep diaries throughout their pregnancy to pass along to the child after placement. These scrapbooks and diaries have proven to be some of the most precious and loving gifts a birthparent can provide to their child. Adoptive parents, regardless of how open an adoption is, always appreciate as full a family medical history as can be provided as well.
Do you have questions about placing your child for adoption? We are here to provide the answers you need.