Sometimes, couples who are expecting a baby but aren’t able to care for the child make an adoption plan. This allows someone else to raise the child.
Adoption is when a child’s birth parents give up legal rights to the child, and someone else raises the child. Adoption is permanent. Rules about adoption vary by state. To learn about the rules in your state, contact your local family or human services agency, or go to "Infant Adoption Awareness: State Laws."
The following are the 2 main types of adoption:
Adoptions are usually handled by adoption agencies. These agencies help place children with adoptive parents. They screen people who want to adopt. This means that they interview them, check their backgrounds and spend time with them to make sure they are ready to raise a child. Adoption agencies also help birth parents with medical care, support and counseling. There are public and private adoption agencies. All of them must be licensed by the government.
No. Some adoptions are not handled by an agency. These are called “independent adoptions” and are handled by lawyers. Typically, the adoptive parents and the birth parents each hire a lawyer to represent them. It is important to find a lawyer who has experience handling adoptions. Independent adoptions are not legal in all states, so be sure to check your state’s laws if you are considering this type of adoption.
In an independent adoption, the adoptive parents usually pay the birth mother’s hospital and medical bills until the baby is born. Some also pay for her living expenses during the pregnancy. States that allow independent adoptions have strict laws about what the adoptive parents can pay for and what they cannot.
Yes, but they have to go through the same evaluations as other adoptive parents.
Birth parents are usually allowed to see the baby in the hospital. They should check with the adoption agency or lawyer handling the adoption before the baby is born.
It is different from state to state. In most states, there is usually a waiting period of at least 48 hours. The birth parents are then asked to sign a form that ends their rights as parents. After they sign the form, the baby is given to the adoptive parents. In some states, the adoptive parents and the birth parents have a certain amount of time to change their minds about the adoption. But once the adoption is legally approved, it is permanent.
Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff