If you are pregnant, we can help.
If you are pregnant and are considering adoption for your child, you probably have many questions and are looking for support.
Q. Do you have adopting parents for me to consider?
A. We have many wonderful adoptive families who are prepared and eager to become parents. Their personal profiles tell you a little about who they are: Some love to travel; others love to be at home for family game night. All are committed to providing a safe and loving home for a child. You can browse through the profiles to see where you might find a connection. You can also let us know what characteristics you want in adopting parents–we will help you find the families that match your preferences. We will use all our resources to help you find the perfect family.
Q. What happens after I pick the profile of a family that I like?
A. You and the potential adopting parents can first talk and text on the phone to begin to get to know each other. If you enjoy talking with each other, you can meet in person if you’d like. The adopting parents will provide the necessary transportation to the meeting or come to where you live Once you and the adoptive family decide together that this is the right decision for all of you, you “matched” with those adoptive parents. These parents will become the legal parents of the baby after he or she is born.
Q: How does my relationship with the adoptive family develop?
A: Getting to know the adoptive family can be both exciting and anxiety-producing. You may be feeling relief about your choice of adoptive parents, and at the same time feel scared about the birth and decision about placement. We will help you answer the important questions about ongoing contact with the family and will put all the details of your adoption plan in place. Adoption counseling at this time can be valuable in helping you to sort out your conflicting feelings. We help you find a counselor if you are open to this idea.
Q. Does the biological father have to participate?
A. It is helpful if the mother and father are supportive of each other through the pregnancy and adoption process. We welcome the involvement of fathers. However, this involvement is not always present. If you are in contact with the father, we must serve him with legal notice that an adoption is being planned. If the father is your husband, is on the birth certificate, or has supported you financially or emotionally through the pregnancy, he can sign a consent to the adoption, just like you. Or, if he prefers, he may sign a waiver of his rights even before the birth of the child. If he is not married to you, or supporting you through the pregnancy, he may also sign a consent or waiver of his parental rights before the child is born. However, he may prefer to do nothing after he is served with notice of the adoption. We will then terminate his rights through the court. If a father is going to object to the adoption, we want to know early so we can discuss the situation. We are careful to work with the father in a courteous and legal manner so that we will have a safer adoption for your child. If there is more than one possible father, we will privately give notice to each. If you have no way of determining who the father is, we will need a declaration explaining the situation and will terminate his rights through the court.
Q. How do I know that the adoptive parent(s) are suitable parents?
A. Every adoption we do requires an investigation by either a state or private licensed adoption agency of the adopting parents. The adopting parents are fingerprinted; have criminal and child abuse background checks; and provide social and employment histories, financial information, reports of medical examinations, and letters of reference to the agency. A social worker goes to their home to make sure it is child-safe and to interview the parents in person.
Q. If I am not from the state of California, can I place my baby through your office?
A. Yes. You can give birth to your child in your home state and California adoptive parents will come to your state to take the baby home. Some adoptive parents can be there for the birth, if time permits. Any expenses of your pregnancy paid for by the adoptive parents must be considered acceptable expenses in your state. You will need to sign consent papers after the birth of the child. The adopting parents may not leave your state with the baby until both states have approved of the adoption. Often an attorney or agency from your home state is involved. Our office will coordinate this process for you and the adopting parents.
A. Once you have successfully matched with adoptive parents, and before you go into labor, it is time to plan for the birth of the baby. Labor and delivery can be a very emotional experience for everyone. The choices about labor and delivery are totally yours. You are the parent of the child through your pregnancy and delivery, during the time in the hospital, and until you have consented to the adoption, if you ultimately do so. You should not be pressured by anyone to place your child for adoption. You cannot sign a consent to the adoption until after discharge from the hospital, and when you are ready and certain you want to go forward with the adoption. Before your delivery, we will assist you in developing
a hospital plan that feels right to you. We will notify the hospital of your planned adoption with a letter. This letter will outline your wishes for the delivery and hospital stay. If you go ahead with your adoption plan and want the adopting parents to take the child directly from the hospital, you will need to sign a hospital release at the time of discharge to allow them to care for the child.
Questions to Guide You in Developing a Hospital Plan
- Who will be at labor? At delivery?
- Who should hold the baby first?
- Do you want to remain on the maternity floor after delivery?
- Do you want to spend time alone with the baby?
- Do you want the adoptive parents to spend time alone with the baby?
- How will discharge from the hospital be handled?
- What name will you put on the original birth certificate?
Q. What if Child Protective Services (CPS) is involved?
A. Generally, no child needs to go to foster care if you have a private adoption plan in place. Your child can go home directly with the adoptive parents that you have selected.
Q. Do I pay any costs for the adoption?
A. Birth parents are not responsible for any professional fees, such as legal, social work, or counseling fees. All such services as well as any court or legal costs are free to birth parents. These costs are paid for by the adopting parents.
Q. What if I need financial assistance?
A. In California, once a match is made, the adoptive parents can assist you with pregnancy-related
expenses during pregnancy and until a month or so following the delivery. Within what the law allows, and what you need, they can help you with living expenses and maternity clothes. All funds will be paid from our law offices trust account, so money is never an issue between you and the adoptive family.
We can also help you sign up for MediCal or MediCaid health insurance if you qualify, and can assist with insurance co-pays. In addition, you have the right to your own attorney and the right to counseling. Biological fathers are not legally allowed to receive help with living expenses, although children or others dependent on you can be included. We are happy to discuss your specific situation with you.