The end goal in every open adoption journey is to make sure you feel like you have done what is best for you and your child. That being said, as the birth parent, you do have rights to make sure your requests, decisions, and guidelines about the adoption process are followed.
It is important you understand these rights and responsibilities as you begin the adoption journey. These rights cannot be denied and are there to make sure you feel comfortable and protected throughout.
Because adoption laws vary from state to state, you may also want to speak with an experienced adoption attorney when you are considering an open adoption. Stay informed and know the rights you have as the birth parent.
The Right to Choose the Adoptive Parents
This is one of the biggest and best rights you have as a birth mom… choosing which family will raise your child. Jot down your preferences, listing everything from family size to hobbies and lifestyle, and your adoption specialist will help match you with the waiting family that best meets your wishes. From there, you’ll meet with the prospective family and get to know them more before making your selection. There is no timeframe on when you have to choose the adoptive parents. You can take as long as you need to find the perfect family for your child.
The Right to Create Your Own Adoption Plan
As the birth mom, you set the tone for how the open adoption arrangements unfold. You are in charge of creating your adoption plan and detailing what happens at every step. This includes planning out your time in the hospital to how you interact with the adoptive family and your child in the future. Of course, there are people that will help you make informed choices on all of this along the way, but you will never be forced into a decision that you aren’t comfortable with.
The Right to Choose How Much Contact You Have
Before the adoption is complete, you also have the right to choose (and get in writing) the type of relationship you want with your child and his or her adoptive family post adoption. You get to outline how often you want to receive updates, if and when you can visit face-to-face, and more. While this contract may not be legally enforceable in some states, most adoptive parents are willing to continue a relationship with the birth parent based on what was outlined in the Post-Adoption Contact Agreement.
The Right to Your Own Lawyer
Birth parents also have the right to have their own lawyer. Your lawyer can help explain your rights now and after the papers have been signed. Understanding the adoption process fully is important before you make this life-changing decision.
The Right to Free Counseling
Choosing adoption is not an easy choice to make. Because of this, you have the right to receive information on any and all options available to you. You can also meet with an adoption counselor both before and after the adoption is finalized. Counseling is not required. However, it can be an important resource for you in helping make the decision to place your child for adoption. You can also use counseling to help you work through some of the decisions you will need to make on your adoption journey such as the hospital plan, living expense assistance, and post-adoption contract.
The Right to Change Your Mind
At any point in the adoption process – all the way up to signing the final papers, you can change your mind about whether you want to go through with the adoption. The adoptive parents have no legal rights over your child until you sign the final relinquishment papers. No one can pressure you. No one can threaten a consequence. If you decide to keep and parent your child, that is 100% your choice and right to do so.