If you are pregnant and thinking about placing your baby for adoption, a good start is to ask yourself these questions:
- Is anybody putting pressure on me to have the baby adopted?
- Who can give me information, help and support?
- How will I feel going through the pregnancy and childbirth, and then placing the baby for adoption?
- What would I do if I didn’t place the baby up for adoption?
- Is adoption really the best option for me?
- What are my partner’s views on adoption?
- Do I think I will have any regrets later: next month, next year, in five years?
I’ve decided that I want to place my baby for adoption. What do I do now?
It is a good idea to get expert advice as soon as possible. You can get this advice from:
- Social workers from the Brighton & Hove social services can give you advice on benefits and other help or support which may be needed during pregnancy. They can also refer you to an adoption agency.
- A voluntary adoption agency
- British Adoption & Fostering Agency - call 020 7421 2652 or email email@example.com
- Hospital social workers who work with maternity clinics
If you want to place your baby for adoption, you need to make arrangements for medical care during your pregnancy, for your own health and the health of your baby. You still need to register your pregnancy with a GP, work closely with a midwife, and ensure that you get the healthcare and lifestyle support you need.
Social services can help you ensure that you receive the housing and benefits support you need during your pregnancy.
Choosing a family
If you decide that adoption is right for your baby, the social worker at the agency will spend some time with you to help you with your decision. You will, in due course, need to give some personal information about yourself, your family and your family's health, for the adopters to be able to share with the child as he or she grows up.
There are so many people who want to adopt a baby that it should be possible to find an excellent home for your child.
If you have strong feelings about the sort of family you would like to adopt the child, you can discuss this with the adoption agency. The social worker will discuss with you the kind of family you want your child to grow up in. Wherever possible, they will try to meet your wishes.
You should talk to the social worker about the possibility of meeting the family (if you want to), or about other sorts of contact such as exchanging letters.
What happens after the baby is born
When you leave hospital after giving birth, your baby may be looked after by a temporary foster carer or may possibly go straight to his or her adoptive parents.
Your social worker will have worked with you to decide what the best plan is.
The court will then arrange for you to be visited by someone who will make sure that you understand what adoption involves. You will be asked to sign a formal document. You cannot give this formal agreement until the baby is at least six weeks old.
Your social worker will make regular visits to the child to check that everything is going well and offer support to the new child. The agency will have to provide a report to the court about how the child is settling in. When the baby has settled down with his or her adoptive parents, they will make an application to the court, and if the court is satisfied that all is well then an adoption order will be granted. This can't happen until the baby is at least 19 weeks old and has lived with the adopters for 13 weeks.
There is another procedure, called 'freeing', which may be used if you are sure that you want your baby adopted, because it may be quicker for you. Your social worker will be able to advise you on which procedure is best for you.
Laws about adoption
If the woman decides to change her mind and keep the baby once it has been born, there will be no pressure on the woman to place the baby up for adoption.
The adoption becomes legal when the child has been with its adoptive parents for a while and the adoption has been agreed in court. You will be asked to sign a document agreeing to the adoption officially. This can be as soon as a few weeks after the birth or later, if more time is needed to decide.
If the baby is adopted, the adoptive parents legally become the parents of the child. Once the baby is legally adopted, the mother cannot change her mind and have the baby back.
The father can be involved, but the identity of the father does not have to be given. The baby's father may not agree with your adoption plan and may want to bring up the child himself. If you and he are unable to agree, the court will have to decide whether it thinks adoption or a life with the father is likely to be best for the child in the long term.
Young people who have been adopted have the right to seek their birth parents when they are 18 years old.
Please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your questions or comments.