Question: What will I know about the family who adopts my baby? May I tell you what I am looking for in an adoptive family? May I meet them, or have later contact with my child? How will you know that they are a good, stable and loving family for my child?
Answer: Unless you choose not to, you will be choosing your baby’s family from profiles (or scrapbooks) which the adoptive families have prepared for you. In these, you will find an idea of who they are, where they live, any children they may already have, pets, hobbies, etc. You will view photographs and biographies and read letters written for you, the birthmother and birthfather. We hope that you will share with us what you envision in your adoptive family so that we may help you to match with a family that feels “right” to you, one who can accept your needs for openness and ongoing communication. You may choose to meet your family, to correspond with them, to have ongoing contact with them throughout your child’s life. Our goal is to help you to find the family who hopes to have the same kind of relationship with you as you want with them, a family who will also care for and respect you as the birthmother of their child. All families accepted into our program have had thorough homestudies and background checks. They have been approved as stable and loving families who are able to provide a caring, stable and nurturing home for a child.
Question: What will my social worker want to know about me before placing my baby?
Answer: Your social worker will ask you questions about your personal history and background, about your medical history and any drug or alcohol use. You will want to inform him/her about your motivation for choosing adoption, what you are looking for in adoptive parents, and how open you wish the adoption to be.
Question: Will my child wonder why I placed him/her for adoption?
Answer: Probably. However, adoption is very different now from what it used to be. Today, children raised with open adoption frequently grow up knowing their birthparents or knowing of them—what they look like, names, why they made their adoption decision. Children raised in an open atmosphere have fewer questions about their origins, because they have learned these things as a natural part of their lives. If you are not planning an open adoption, you may want to write a letter for your child to open at age 18, relating whatever information you think is important.
Question: What is the difference between open and closed adoption?
Answer: There are two types of adoption, confidential and open. In a confidential adoption, the birthparents and adoptive parents never know each other. Adoptive parents are given background information about you and the birth father, that they would need to help them take care of the child, such as medical information.
In an open adoption, the birthparents and adoptive parents know something about each other. There are different levels of openness, on a long continuum:
Least open: You will read about several adoptive families and pick the one that sounds best for your baby. You will not know their names.
More open: You and the family will speak on the phone and exchange first names.
Even more open: You can meet the adoptive family. Your social worker will arrange the meeting at the adoption agency or some other suitable place. You may want to exchange letters and photographs through your agency.
Most open: You and the adoptive family share names, addresses, phone numbers, etc. You stay in contact over the years, exchange pictures and letters (at first through the agency, but this may change). You may even visit with your child and his new family over the years through letters, telephone and personal contact. In some open adoptions, your parents may be accepted by the adoptive family as additional grandparents, your siblings may be allowed to be aunts and uncles. Most of our adoptions have reached this level of mature openness. This becomes a beautiful and spiritual experience!
The amount of openness is determined by your initial guidelines, with the agreement of the adoptive parents!!
Open adoption is not a legal agreement. It is an agreement of the heart, a contract of love made with the child’s best interests in mind. Trust must be built as a foundation between both adoptive and birthparents to build a nurturing circle of love for each adopted child. We spend the time to get to know our adoptive parents, to understand what they are capable of committing to. In this way, we can be sure that you will get the relationship and commitment you need from your adoptive family. A birthmother needs to know that she will be allowed to enter the inner circle or adoptive family as initially agreed upon.
Question: If I make an adoption plan for my baby, can I change my mind?
Answer: You may change your mind at any time, up until the time you sign the paperwork or consent. After signing the consent, you will no longer have the option of changing your mind. You will not sign the consent until at least 12 hours following the birth.
Question: What if I am unable to get to the Hays office for my counseling?
Answer: Upon your request, Sunflower will send a counselor to you, wherever you are!