Adoption Frequently Asked Questions
Do you have questions about adoption?
We have answers.
People have often have an array of questions about adoption. Following are answers to the most common ones. If you have other questions that are not answered below, please feel free to call us any time, day or night.
To speak to a counselor right now you can:
Call us at 503.542.2392 or toll free at 877.932.2734
- Does it cost anything to meet with you?
No. All services to birthparents are free of charge.
- What if I am not sure that adoption is the right choice for me?
Our counselors can help you decide whether parenting, adoption or abortion is best for you. They have accurate information about all three options. If you choose to make a parenting or abortion plan, your counselor can provide you with referrals to community organizations that offer assistance with the option you choose. Boys & Girls Aid is an all-options agency and believes that you have the right to choose the plan that best suits your needs. However, we will only discuss the options you are interested in exploring.
- Someone told me that if I choose adoption, that means I don’t care about my child. Is that true?
Absolutely not. Every woman must make the decision that is best for her and her child. For some women, that may mean making a parenting plan. For other women, that means making an adoption plan. Adoption is not an easy decision, and you will feel sadness afterward. Women choose to make an adoption plan for a number of reasons. You may be concerned that you don’t have the resources to care for your child. You may have education or career plans that would be changed by parenting a child right now. You may already have children and aren’t sure you can provide for another child. Whatever your reasons are, adoption is not a decision that is made lightly. Although it isn’t right for everyone, adoption can be a very good decision. In the words of one birthmother, “It takes a lot more love to plan an adoption. Even though it’s been hard, I’ve never been sorry. Not once.”
- What is open adoption?
Open adoption is when there is some information or contact between the birthparent(s) and adoptive family. There are different levels of openness, and there is no right or wrong open adoption plan. Openness can include choosing the adoptive family, having contact with the family before and during birth, talking with the family on the phone or through email, receiving letters and/or pictures as your child grows up, or having visits with the adoptive family and your child. Openness gives you the opportunity to know your child and the adoptive family. It allows you to be part of your child’s life.
- Who do I need to involve in this process?
Regarding your family and friends: You can involve anyone you want. If you would like support from your family and friends, they are welcome to be part of this plan with you. If you don’t want others to be involved, that is also your choice. You are considered legally emancipated by the state of Oregon from your parents when it comes to making decisions about your pregnancy.
Regarding the birthfather: We encourage birthfather participation whenever possible. However, every situation is different, and we will work with you to arrange a level of involvement with the birthfather that is comfortable for you as well as legally appropriate. In Oregon, you may choose not to involve the birthfather at all unless he has done certain things required by Oregon law to show that he is the father. If the birthfather is married to you, he is considered a legal father, and an adoption cannot happen without his consent (except in certain circumstances). If the birthfather is participating in the adoption plan, he may receive many of the same services as you do. Boys & Girls Aid believes that it is generally best to have the birthfather involved, particularly for his consent to the adoption and to obtain medical history from him. Note: This is only a brief overview of birthfather legal issues. Your counselor will discuss your situation further with you.
- Can I keep things confidential?
All services are confidential. Only non-identifying information about adoptive families and birthparents will be shared with either party as part of the adoption process. We will not share identifying information at any time without your permission to do so. If you choose an open adoption, you can decide whether to share identifying information directly with the adoptive family.
- What do you need to know about the birthfather?
We encourage birthfather participation and would like as much information as possible about him. If he is participating in the planning process, he will fill out many of the same papers as you do. If he is not, we ask that you complete as much of them as you can. We can also send papers to the birthfather by mail if you prefer. Although we believe that it is ideal for both birthparents to be involved in the adoption of their child, we understand that everyone’s circumstances are different, and that birthfather involvement is not always possible.
- What do you need to know about me?
We would like to know as much information as you are willing to share. You will meet with your counselor and talk about your medical history, general information about you and your family, and what you desire in an adoptive family. You may also talk about your interests and likes and dislikes. Above all, your counselor wants to know about you as a person, so she understands how to best support you throughout the adoption process.
- How does the adoption process work?
Once you have decided that you would like to make an adoption plan, a birthparent counselor will meet with you to begin the adoption planning process. She will talk with you about what things are important to you in an adoptive family, help you plan for your time in the hospital and afterward, and help arrange for any medical and financial assistance you may need. She will also help you complete a medical history that will assist in deciding which of our adoptive families can best meet you and your baby’s needs.
When you have decided what you are looking for in an adoptive family and how much contact you want with them, your counselor will gather portfolios, or family books, designed by the adoptive families who best match your requests. You can look at the books and choose which family you would like to meet. After the meeting, you can decide how much more contact you would like before the birth, at the hospital, and after placement. Your counselor will be there to listen when you need someone to talk to about how you are feeling and can provide resources for outside counseling if needed.
- What if I’ve used drugs or alcohol during the pregnancy?
It is important that you are honest with your counselor about any drugs or alcohol that you may have used at any time during the pregnancy. Your counselor will appreciate your honesty and will not judge you. We have families who will adopt a child that has been exposed to drugs and/or alcohol. It is important for the family that you choose to know, so they are prepared for any needs that your child may have.
- How much information will I get about the adoptive family?
Adoptive families make family books that contain many photos of the family, their home, and their activities. They also include letters from both parents describing themselves, how they feel about parenting, adoption, openness, and each other. The last page of the book is a summary containing basic information such as length of marriage, hobbies, favorite things, and other general facts. If there are specific questions you have about the adoptive family, you can ask your counselor or the family themselves. Most adoptive families and birthparents do not exchange their last names or addresses when first meeting, but some choose to do so as they get to know each other better. Here are some of our current waiting families.
Sometimes birthparents insist that the adoptive parents be of a certain race. Our agency follows the requirements of the Multi-Ethnic Placement Act. Therefore, we cannot deny or delay a child’s adoptive placement due to the child’s race or due to race of the prospective adoptive parents. However, we do try to recruit families of all cultural and ethnic backgrounds.
- What does the adoptive family get to know about me?
The family will receive a detailed medical history completed by you. We will also try to give them a description of you and your personality, what your interests are, and why you are planning an adoption. You may have other information that you want to share with them. Most adoptive families appreciate having a picture of the you (and the birthfather, if applicable), a letter to the child explaining your decision to seek an adoptive home and your feelings about him or her, and anything else that you choose to include that helps the child to know you. The more information you are willing to provide, the better.
- Will my child be placed outside of Oregon or Washington?
Not in most cases. Boys & Girls Aid works only with Oregon and Washington adoptive families. In some special instances, we may need to recruit a family from elsewhere in order to best meet the needs of your child. Remember, ultimately it is your decision regarding who to place your child with, and he/she won’t be placed in a location that you don’t approve of.
- What happens at the hospital?
You decide who you would like to have with you for the birth and how much time you spend with your baby. We encourage you to spend as much time as you need with your baby prior to placement. Some birthparents choose to keep the baby in the room with them, while others prefer that the baby stay in the nursery or with the adoptive family.
It is up to you to decide when you are comfortable having the adoptive family come to the hospital. Some birthparents ask the adoptive family to visit them and/or the baby in the hospital. Some ask the family to be at the hospital while giving birth. Occasionally birthparents prefer not to see the family after the birth and will leave the hospital before the families’ arrival. The timing and degree of adoptive family involvement and visits varies and is based entirely on your wishes.
Adoption placement papers are generally signed when you are going to be released from the hospital, usually 24 to 48 hours after the birth. The baby will go home with the adoptive parents from the hospital.
- Can I name my baby?
Yes. The name you choose will be on the original birth certificate. If you do not choose a name, the birth certificate will simply state Baby Boy or Baby Girl. The adoptive family will also choose a name that will be put on a new birth certificate after the legal finalization of the adoption. Sometimes, adoptive families choose to incorporate part of your chosen name with theirs, such as a middle name. Sometimes, a name is chosen together.
- How much contact can I have with the adoptive family before and after the placement?
The amount of contact is up to you and the adoptive parents to decide. All of our adoptive families are willing to meet you before the placement, at the placement, and after the placement. All our families respect your decision to make an adoption plan and desire a relationship with you. Some birthparents desire a close relationship with the adoptive family while others prefer to exchange letters and pictures until the child is old enough to decide if he or she would like to meet you. Remember that it is up to you which family you choose. Your contract is legally binding so that whatever types and amounts of contact you choose is guaranteed.
- Is contact with the child and adoptive family after the placement good for the child?
We believe that it is very important for children to know where they came from. Adopted children often wonder: “Who do I look like?” “Why didn’t they keep me?” and “Do they still care about me?” Open adoptions allow the person with the answers to those questions (you and possibly the birthfather) to be present in the child’s life. Whether you choose to provide those answers through pictures, letters, gifts and/or meetings is up to you and the adoptive family. The decision to have contact and how much contact always should be made with keeping your child’s best interests in mind.
- What if I decide not to plan an adoption?
There is no requirement that you follow through with an adoption plan. You need to make the decision that feels the best for you. Your counselor is working only with you – not the adoptive family – and she wants you to make the decision that you are most comfortable with. If you choose to parent, you will not be looked down on or viewed negatively. Your counselor can help you think through the options you have, and make the plan that is best for you. You can change your mind up until the time that the baby has been born and you sign the adoption documents.
- What if I change my mind after placement?
It is important that you be absolutely sure that you wish to complete your adoption plan before you sign the legal consents to adoption. You cannot sign legal papers until after your baby is born, although the birthfather can in certain situations. Once you have signed legal papers and the child has been physically placed with the adoptive family, you cannot change your decision.
Your counselor will encourage you to rethink your adoption plan throughout the process and again prior to signing legal papers to make sure that it is still the right choice for you. Your counselor will not have you sign the legal paperwork unless you are completely sure that adoption is the right decision for you and your child. Boys & Girls Aid fully supports your right to change your mind prior to the placement of your child with the adoptive family.
- Why should I choose Boys & Girls Aid?
Boys & Girls Aid has been involved in adoption work for more than 125 years. We have decades of experience with the changing trends in adoption and a deep respect for the birthparent and adoptive families involved. You will have the security of knowing that the family you select has been thoroughly evaluated in terms of emotional and financial stability, readiness to parent, and understanding of adoption.
Since birthparents and adoptive families have separate counselors, you can rest assured that your information is kept confidential. Your counselor will always be looking out for your best interests.
We believe that birthparents and adoptive families must design the adoption plan that works best for them. We do not require that they be done in a certain way. It is your choice what type of adoption plan you create for your child, what type of family you select, what happens at the hospital, and the amount and type of contact you would like to have with your child as he/she grows up.
We are a founding member of The Child Welfare League of America and we are accredited by CARF International, in addition to being licensed by the states of Oregon and Washington. We are a child welfare agency and you and your child’s best interests are always our primary concern.