One of the most difficult decisions that any person can make is to “give my baby up for adoption” or “put my baby up for adoption”. Quite frankly, these terms themselves are very harsh and as adoption professionals, we know that so much more goes into this decision when you find yourself with an unplanned pregnancy. Positive adoption language teaches us that a birth mother/father “makes an adoption plan” or “places their baby for adoption”. In this way, we can imagine and reflect upon the emotional and intellectual planning and options counseling that has gone into this unselfish choice.
So, what can you do when you find yourself with a positive at home pregnancy test. The first thing that you should do is take a pregnancy test at a reputable health care center or with a physician. Often times, even though you may think you are pregnant, when you get the actual results, you can deny it no longer and you must confront the emotions that at times go along with an unintended, unplanned or at times, unwanted pregnancy. Most importantly, you should get prenatal care so that both you and your baby will be safe and healthy. Even if you don’t have insurance, many providers have a “healthy start” program which may offer free prenatal care to economically disadvantaged women. Adoption ARC has the ability through the Pennsylvania Department of Welfare to register qualifying women for state health insurance.
Most of Adoption ARC’s birth mothers contact the nonprofit Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware licensed adoption agency toward the middle to end of their second trimester of pregnancy. As such, the agency discusses various pregnancy options with them such as whether they have explored ways in which they could continue to parent their child though public benefits or public housing which many times begins in the shelter system. When this is not an option, Adoption ARC explores whether there is a relative who can provide kinship care or adoption or short-term care. Sometimes, the reason that many women cannot bring their babies homes is a result of a short-term issue and thus temporary foster care through the county welfare system could be an option. When a woman and man decide that they are looking for a forever family for their baby, then the adoption process is discussed in detail. Throughout the various counseling sessions, these options are discussed each and every time as circumstances and feelings and emotions can change.
Since adoption is permanent, Adoption ARC is careful to ensure that birth parents fully understand their legal rights. They are entitled to a pro bono session or representation with an adoption attorney if they so desire. All agency documents which are signed during the pregnancy are confidential and nonbinding. Birth Parents are advised that they may change their mind during this options counseling process at any time.
Every state in the United States has a different law relating to timing and revocability of adoption surrenders and consent to adoption. As such, Adoption ARC ensures that birth parents are fully apprised and comfortable with their understanding of their legal rights. Most of Adoption ARC birth parents surrender their rights under New Jersey law with the New Jersey adoption agency.
In our next blog, we will explore different state laws and open adoption vs. closed adoption.