Other than the possibility that a baby may not be born healthy, there are three basic concerns that weigh on the minds and hearts of prospective adoptive parents:
- That they will provide substantial financial support to a woman who has no real intention of placing her child for adoption, or to a birth mother who has an honest change of heart about placing her child.
- The adoption process is complicated and drawn out.
- That the birth father’s rights will not be properly addressed, leaving the adoption open to later challenge.
It is our awareness of these concerns that drive the timing of the agency administrative fee and legal fee installments.
1. Funding Pre-Match Services to Birth Mothers:
When prospective adoptive parents participate in an adoption plan with a designated birth mother, the earlier in a pregnancy that such a “match” is made, the greater the financial and emotional risk to the couple that the birth mother will ultimately choose not to place the child for adoption. Though we will often work with birth mothers from early on in their pregnancies, we will not make matches with prospective adoptive parents sooner than the third trimester, except in what we consider to be exceptional cases. This policy reduces both the financial and the emotional risk posed by the unscrupulous woman or irresolute birth parent. However, in addition to the usual elements of office overhead (rent, utilities, advertising, and more), our work with these prospective birth mothers makes intensive time demands on our counseling and legal professionals, increasing our overhead considerably. Our overhead costs must be met, regardless of the number of placements made in any given month.
2. Selection Process:
Once the birth mother has made her choice, the placement proposal is made to the prospective adoptive parents by our staff and, if accepted, a “match” is made. The prospective adoptive family then meets briefly (typically one hour) with the birth parent(s) one to three times in our office, under our supervision, to exchange further non-identifying information to “get to know” each other. Though these meetings might be anticipated as awkward and anxiety-laden, they soon become the basis for mutual respect and trust between birth parents and adoptive parents, and benefit the as-yet unborn child by creating a bond among parents that can be passed on to the child in later years. We reach birth mothers who are considering adoption through advertising and referrals from physicians, social workers, attorneys, pregnancy counseling centers, churches, schools, and birth parents we serve. Birth mothers are medically, legally, and socially screened, and receive individual counseling on issues related to their placement plans.
3. Birth Fathers’ Rights:
Another reason we will not quickly match a birth mother with prospective adoptive parents is that we would like to have some time to become satisfied that we are receiving accurate birth father information from the birth mother. If we are given his name and whereabouts, our attorney or case manager will contact him to learn his feelings about the adoption plan, and to offer him counseling before we contact you about a match. If we are given his name, but his whereabouts are unknown, our attorney will begin a search process to contact the birth father to make sure he has no objections. If the birth mother’s information about the birth father is even more sketchy, we will take a “wait and see” approach, making every effort to encourage the birth mother to be as forthcoming as possible about the father’s identity and location. Often, counseling with the birth mother can enable her to choose to protect her child’s future by facing present facts with the birth father before a match with one of our couples is made. Occasionally, our birth father work will preclude the possibility of an adoptive placement of the child of a birth mother we may have worked with for quite some time. In such a case, there is, again, no opportunity for us to recover the time and expense incurred in producing a “no-placement” result.