Answers to Your Questions…
Where do I start?
What are my options?
You have a number of options when making an adoption plan for your baby. You can choose the adoptive parents for your baby, make decisions about your hospital stay, and choose to continue contact with the adoptive parents through pictures and letters following the placement. A caseworker will tell you your options and help you make an adoption plan you feel is best for you.
Why choose adoption?
Some birth parents choose adoption because they believe in the sanctity of life and are opposed to choosing abortion to end their unplanned pregnancy. Some realize that they are too young and they lack the maturity to be good parents at this time. Some already have other children and cannot take on the financial and emotional responsibility of raising another child. Some are trying to finish their education or are working and are not able to spend the time they know they should to provide for the child’s needs, so they are seeking a stable, two parent family to give their baby the best possible start in life.
If I choose adoption, does that mean I am not a good parent?
Planning a life for your child doesn’t make you a bad parent. It’s the most unselfish thing you will ever do. It’s not about your ability to parent, it’s about timing; is it the right time to be a parent?
Why do I need to work with an agency?
We can assist you with your needs during your unplanned pregnancy. We can educate you about adoption, provide counseling, help you choose adoptive parents for your baby, take care of the legal work, and assist with medical and living expenses if needed.
Can AAI work with me if I don’t live in Michigan?
Yes! We serve out of state birth mothers!
Can the agency assist me with living expenses?
We may be able to help you with necessary living expenses if the unplanned pregnancy disrupts your usual income. We may also be able to help you with apartment rent before and after delivery. Financial assistance is not available for all birth mothers and is not legal in some states.
What about medical expenses?
Most young women are eligible for Medicaid or medical insurance, and we can assist you in determining your eligibility. If you aren’t covered by Medicaid or private insurance, we may be able to help with medical expenses.
How much input will I have?
You’ll be able to have as much input as you want. Remember, this is your adoption plan. At AAI we know the more choices you have the more empowered you will be. Your caseworker will help you put the plan together.
Can I choose a family for my baby?
Yes! You can choose the adoptive family for your baby by selecting from the parents screened by our agency staff, or you may choose someone who has been recommended to you by someone you trust like a relative, friend, pastor, doctor, etc.
How can I be sure that my baby will not be abused or neglected?
Adoptive families approved by Adoption Associates must meet the standards of being a stable family, having excellent personal references, employment verification, health and medical forms, and approved clearances by the State Police and Michigan Protective Services. If your adoption includes the exchange of photos and letters, you’ll see for yourself how well cared for and loved your child is.
Does AAI do transracial adoptions?
At AAI, we have families ready and waiting to adopt children of all races and ethnicities.
Will I meet the family?
If you wish you can meet the adoptive family and get to know them throughout your pregnancy. They also might be able to be present at doctors’ visits and at the hospital during delivery. We’ll help you arrange a mutually acceptable schedule for the exchange of letters and pictures after the placement.
Are there other birth parents I can talk to about my decision?
AAI employs four women who are birth mothers; they are ready and willing to share their stories with you, and are very knowledgeable in adoption from a birth parent’s point of view. Our agency offers continual support to you before and after you place your baby with the family you select. If you would like to talk with another birth mother one-on-one, we’ll be happy to put you in touch with someone who has already made an adoption plan.
Will I see my baby in the hospital?
You have many choices available to you during your hospital stay. Your caseworker will assist you in making a written plan of how you would like things to go at the hospital. It includes letting the hospital know how much contact you would like with the baby, who you want to visit with you and/or the baby, how much involvement you would like the adoptive parents to have, requesting a private room on or off the maternity floor, etc. This written plan will help things go smoothly and alert the staff about how to best serve you during your stay.
How soon after birth will my baby go to the parents I choose?
Usually, it’s possible for your baby to go directly to the adoptive family from the hospital if you are sure of your decision and there is no other legal or medical reason to prevent it. In other cases the baby will go to a host family until the legal release procedures are completed. If the child is placed into host care, the adoptive family will be able to visit every day.
How do I know the host family will take good care of my baby?
Your baby can stay with a loving host family if you are unsure of your decision or until the legal release procedures are completed. Host parents are extensively interviewed and specifically chosen by Adoption Associates They are stable, two-parent families and have extensive experience in infant care. Host mothers are not employed outside the home, so the baby is always cared for by one primary caregiver. Your baby will usually be the only child in the home placed by the agency. These special people will get your baby off to a great start!
What will my baby know about me?
Your decision for adoption was based on love and wanting the best for your baby’s future. To express this, you may want to write a letter to your child sharing special information about yourself or send a gift that can be shared with him or her in the future.
Additionally, we’ll help you plan for the exchange of pictures, letters, mementos, etc. with the adoptive family. The adoptive family will respect your need to know that your child is loved and happy and will present you as a loving birth mother who made an unselfish and difficult decision for the future of your baby.
Is adoption permanent?
After you go to court and sign a release of parental rights, the child legally becomes a permanent member of the adoptive family.
Does the birth father have any rights?
The birth father’s rights are different than your rights as the baby’s custodial parent at the time of birth. The birth father may choose to be involved in the adoption plan as well as participate in the legal process. When a birth father goes through the adoption process with the birth mother, he often comes to agree that adoption is in the best interest of the child.
What if I don’t know who the father is?
Not to worry—in this situation your caseworker will help you through the legal process.
What if I am not comfortable contacting the birth father or I am afraid of him?
Your caseworker can handle all contact with the birth father if you prefer.
Can my parents stop me from making an adoption plan?
No. The decision is yours alone to make. If you would like, we can work with your parents to help them understand the importance of being supportive at this time in your life.
How will I know this is the right decision for me and my baby?
Only you can make decisions in regard to your unplanned pregnancy. We’re here to provide information on how the adoption process works and the benefits it can provide for you and your baby. You can be assured your baby will be placed in a loving, two-parent home where all of his or her material and emotional needs will be met.
In the end, your choice of adoption will be based on your belief that it is a wonderful plan for both you and your baby. It will not be the result of any pressure on you.
Can I talk to someone after placement?
we can provide additional outside counseling after the placement at no cost to you.
Will the prospective adoptive family judge me or think less of me because of my choices or life circumstances? Absolutely not! Any adoptive family knows that there can be bumps along the road in anyone’s life. Most people have had things happen to them that they haven’t expected or have made decisions they later wish they could change. All of us have regrets of one sort or another.
Besides, the prospective family is not going to be thinking about your life circumstances. They are going to be thinking about the generosity of the gift that you are giving them. You are likely the answer to their prayers! They will probably be more nervous at the first meeting than you will be, and they will be focused on how much you love your baby—enough to give him or her a more secure future. Because they know that you are placing your child out of selflessness and love, they will judge you as a hero, and nothing less.
Do I have to go to court? Yes. In Michigan, termination of parental rights occurs in front of a judge or referee. This is scheduled after delivery and will be a private, closed hearing. Your caseworker will make all the arrangements and go to court with you to provide emotional support. The hearing typically takes about fifteen minutes and your caseworker will review the process with you beforehand. There is no need to worry about your court appearance. You are not on trial.
When do I go to court? The hearing will be scheduled approximately 2-4 weeks after the baby is born.
What does it cost me? Nothing. Adoption costs are paid by the adoptive families.
How do adoptive families get approved? There is a lengthy screening process that is conducted by a licensed child placing agency according to guidelines set forth by the state. The adoptive family must be stable, financially sound, of good character, and prepared to be parents. To make sure the family meets this criteria, we will ask for people who know the adoptive family well but who are not related to them to tell us what kind of people they are and what kind of parents they will make. We also ask for the adoptive family’s medical information, proof of their employment, and do a criminal background check at both the state and federal level to make sure that they are appropriate.
Why should I choose Adoption Associates?
Because we care about what happens to you and your baby. We have years of experience helping birth parents find the best solution for their unplanned pregnancy. Your caseworker is specially chosen to work with you because we know that those who are the most courageous people in the world, our birth parents, deserve the best. You will be supported and the agency will take care of every detail. We are committed to making your adoption plan the best for you and your baby.