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    Adoption 101

    Social Work Coordinator at The Women's Hospital 04/09/2021
    1.What is an adoption plan? 
    This is the plan a woman has put into place to allow or appoint someone to voluntarily raise her child as their own. This arrangement is done legally and thru a licensed adoption agency or private attorney, then the signed legal documents are taken to court for a final ruling by the judge.

    2.How much money does a woman receive with an adoption plan? 
    No money is provided or promised to a woman planning an adoption. They are entitled to living expense costs, but up to a certain amount, all of which is reported to the court. Some agencies pay half prior to delivery, and the remaining amount after the papers have been signed. Whatever money is provided, is not returned to a family if the adoption does not take place. Most living expenses include rent, food, utilities, etc. This is different from a surrogacy birth plan where a woman is paid to deliver a baby for a couple.

    3.What happens if a woman changes her mind about an adoption plan? 
    A couple things happen. First, a couple that thought they might become parents is suddenly without. They have the option of going back into a waiting list, and most do. This is difficult for all parties involved. It happens, not often, but it happens and all those involved go through many emotions. Adoption is a voluntary decision, but a legal decision once papers are signed. A woman has to be counseled to make the best decision for herself, her child, her family and be able to live with that decision. If a woman decides she wants to parent a baby, community resources are provided, insurance options are discussed, and she typically calls her family for additional support etc. A woman does not necessarily have to sign adoption papers in the hospital. She can go home, parent the child for a time and think about her life plans. There have been times when a woman goes home and finds out that parenting isn’t what she planned and she contacts whomever again to complete the process. There are women who go home and return their infant to a Safe Haven location.

    4.My friend wants to adopt a baby, can she adopt if one becomes available in the hospital and the woman doesn’t have a plan? 
    No, because no one outside the hospital should be aware of an unplanned adoption as these are confidential. Many times staff will ask if they could just take the baby and again, this is a no. If a woman comes into the hospital and does not have an adoption plan, the Social workers provide her and her partner, if present, with options. Couples that have been approved thru a certified home study, background check and are currently awaiting a baby, will have their profile provided to the woman who just gave birth. Adoption agencies and adoption attorneys have profiles of individuals and couples waiting for the chance to become a family. The Social workers will ask for details about the birth parent/parents wishes for the home they want their child placed. They will provide these wishes to whatever agency or attorney has chosen and then provide the selected profiles to the birth parent/parents. They go over open vs. closed adoption and relay that information to the correct person. They disclose if the birth parent/parents want to meet the adopting couple or not. If so, they make that arrangement too. The Social worker is present during the court proceedings and witness or notarize signatures as this is a legal proceeding and one that they want to be certain that the birth parent/parents are treated with respect and not coerced to signing papers. The Social worker makes certain this is the decision that a birth parent wants to make because once they sign their name, it’s done. 
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