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Open Adoption

Frequently Asked Questions

Click on each frequently asked question below to expand. Still have questions, get in touch with us or view more resources.

What is an “open” adoption?

Open Adoption is a form of adoption in which the biological and adoptive families have access to varying degrees of each other’s personal information. Open adoptions are relatively common and provide the most contact between the birth mother and the adoptive family. It’s common for the adoptive family and the birth mother to meet in person, send pictures and letters, and even celebrate special moments together.

It is important for you to discuss your expectations and desires regarding the degree of openness with the prospective adoptive family. It will be important for you to create a Post-Adoption Contact Agreement which is a written agreement that details how and when you’ll communicate and visit your child after the adoption is finalized.

Open adoption is not legally enforceable in Illinois, however, having a post-adoption contact agreement ensures all parties understand what is expected.

Why would I give my baby away for adoption?

The last thing you are doing is giving your baby away – you are giving your baby a future, a hope and showing such sacrificial love for him/her. Some reasons why people choose to place a baby for adoption – maybe you want your child to have a mother and father, or you don’t feel ready to parent, or maybe you know you aren’t able to provide the best for him/her right now. Making an adoption plan for your baby is something a mother and father do out of love and a desire for a great future for their child. Adoption is purely giving – not giving away or giving up.

What will others think of me?

Before considering what others will think of you, remember that this choice is not about them. What you decide to do in your unplanned pregnancy is about you, your child, and what is best for the two of you and it is quite possible that adoption might be a valid choice in your circumstance.

Do I choose the adoptive family?

Yes. You will be able to view family profiles online as well as ask questions and meet in person before you have committed to anything.

What is the impact of adoption?

Adoption affects everyone differently. Love, loss, guilt, and resolution are common themes. Birth Parents should seek out friends, support groups, or understanding counselors in order to have a safe place to communicate their feelings. We have resources to help you through this.


What if I change my mind? When do I have to decide?

You can decide at any point in the process. Some mothers make adoption plans early in pregnancy, while others wait until after the baby is born. Some women also change their minds and become empowered to parent after the baby is born. Relinquishment paperwork is not signed until 72 hours (at the earliest) after the baby is born.

Why is Open Adoption Important?

When doing research on open adoption, it’s helpful to look at the history behind adoption. Adoption used to be steeped in shame and secrecy. Women never had the option of open adoption. Consider the benefits of open adoption as you contemplate this option:

Benefits of open adoption:

  1. Reassurance your child is alive and well.
  2. You and the adoptive parents are able to answer your child’s questions.
  3. Your child has access to you in case medical questions arise.
  4. Your child won’t have to search for you someday.
  5. Your child will be able to gain insight and ask questions about their identity and roots.
  6. Research shows that adoptees in open adoptions are more secure and have higher self-esteem than adoptees in closed adoptions. (Dr. Abbie Goldberg, Professor of Psychology, Clark University; Donaldson Adoption Institute, 2017).

Will I have my own attorney to represent me? And how much will that cost?

Yes, you will. By law, in Illinois, you have the right to your own legal representation. The prospective adoptive family is required by law to cover all legal expenses of your counsel.

How much does it cost me to place my child for adoption?

You pay nothing. By law, in Illinois, you have the right to have living expenses paid by the prospective adoptive family 120 days prior to your due date until 60 days post delivery. All expenses must be approved and go through the courts.

What if I become empowered to parent?

If you become empowered to parent, we will celebrate with you! You will meet with a counselor who will support your decision and help connect you to community resources, if needed.

Can I change my mind after placement?

Once you sign the legal document that terminates your legal rights as a parent, your decision is final and irrevocable. It is important to feel confident about your decision before you take that step. You can and should take as much time as you need before signing termination papers.

What kind of support and services are available to me during pregnancy and after placing my baby for adoption?

Every region is different. But many cities will have access to free, weekly pre- placement counseling from a licensed clinical social worker during your pregnancy. We are deliberate and intentional in walking you step-by-step through the adoption process, educating you on your rights, helping you create a hospital plan, birth plan, and post-placement grief and support plan. If you have more questions, send us a note.

We know that adoption is hard. It’s heartbreaking and painful. Adoption involves grief and raw emotions which is why it is so important to provide services and support to you.

How does My Life My Gift screen adoptive families?

My Life My Gift has a rigorous screening process that requires a homestudy, interviews, and other qualifications to be met before being considered as an adoptive family. Our team of adoption experts has both the experience and knowledge to know what is required before you see any family profile publicly. If you have more questions about this, send us a note.

What will my child think of me for choosing an open adoption?

Every child will feel differently as they grow in their own adoption journey – the key to adoption is the love and honesty behind it. A great aspect about adoption today is birth parents having the ability to choose the adoptive family.  You can choose a family you trust will love your baby unconditionally and who will honestly share the reasons you placed your child with them.

What are my next steps if I'm considering an open adoption?

Even if you’re just thinking through your options, one of our pre-placement staff and counselors would love to hear from you. Visit our Interest Page to learn more.

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