|Options||Choices within Adoption||What About Costs or Expenses||Especially for Birthdads||Questions & Answers|
FIRST AND FOREMOST - Please let me apologize for this page as I am not happy with it. I wanted something more warm, friendly and welcoming. I wanted something less business like. I wanted something that makes you, as a birthparent, feel comfortable and something that elevates you to the wonderful position you deserve. Adoption starts with you. You and your wishes should always be one of the most important parts of the process; tempered by what is in the best interest of your child.
If I am not happy then why is it here? Good Question! I am concerned after recently reading a lot of information from all across the internet and many other sources. There are a lot of people out there that are spreading a lot of false, misleading and negative information. I wanted to get something up here so that you might have a source for some accurate information. You should know that there are a lot of good options available and there is hope. Finally, you should know that there are options out there in selecting an adoption attorney.
You find yourself pregnant and don't know what to do. You might be:
mom of any age
a married mom of any age
a mom because of an encounter that you did not expect, are not proud of, are hurt from, or ???
a mom who doesn't yet have a plan for your life
a mom who is working through your life plan and find yourself unexpectedly pregnant, OR
a huge number of other possibilities.
What I am trying to say is that there is no "normal" situation and while every pregnancy is different, there is one thing that is common to every pregnancy - you are a MOM. You (or you and the father) have to decide where you go from here.
Your choices pretty quickly narrow down to 3. You can:
choose to keep your baby
choose to give birth to your baby and place him/her for adoption, OR
you can choose to abort your baby.
The choice is yours and you will find that there are numerous support options out there for you no matter which one you choose. I am an adopted child, a father, and an adoption professional. I am aware of the large number of great potential parents out there and I BEG OF YOU to strongly consider only the first two options. Yes, I am biased against abortion and you should know that. I believe you have a choice and that you should choose life.
If you choose to parent your baby and need help there are many state and private agencies out there that can be of assistance. If you are in Oregon and have a specific need please contact me and let me help you get in touch with the right resources for you.
If you choose to give birth to your baby and place him/her for adoption there are also many resources available to you. Please read on for some more informaation. If you are in Oregon or would like to consider placing your baby for adoption with adoptive parents in Oregon, please contact me for some specific possibilities for you.
Choices within Adoption
Unlike what might have been true in the past, there is no one way that an adoption has to be. Please don't let someone tell you that you don't have choices. If you are considering adoption for you and your baby, you should understand a few of the more common adoption options available to you. The following definitions are very general (and don't always hold true) but should be of some help to get you started.
"Agency" and "Independent" Adoptions
Agency Adoptions. An agency adoption is when you place your baby with an agency and the agency places your baby with the adoptive parents. An agency adoption can be open or closed (see below). In an agency adoption the agency helps you make a match (or makes a match for you) from among the adoptive parents that have chosen to work with that agency. The agency will usually handle all of the paperwork and the adoptive parents will utilize their own attorney to finalize the adoption. It is rare, in an agency adoption, for the birthparent to have her or his own attorney.
Some agencies are focused on helping the birthparents no matter what decision is made. Some agencies are focused on helping the birthparents only if they choose adoption. To be honest, some agencies, like some attorneys, seem to be more interested in making a placement than they are with you, your baby, and the adoptive parents. If you are considering an agency adoption please do some serious looking into which agency is the right match for you.
Independent Adoptions. An independent adoption is when you don't use an agency to assist with making the match. The many ways that we have to communicate and meet people, including but not limited to the internet, are making independent adoptions a rapidly growing choice for birthparents. As a birthparent you can find adoptive parents just about anywhere. They might be friends, relatives, friends of friends, relatives of friends, co-workers or even people that you do not yet know.
Whether you have already chosen adoptive parents or want help in finding the right adoptive parents for your baby you should go to an attorney who focuses on adoption and one that is willing to treat you with the respect that you deserve. While I don't find adoptive parents for you, I can help you find parents. We can look locally, all over the country, or even all over the world. I am confident that together we can make a match for you that meets all of your wishes - no matter what they are.
In an independent adoption both the birthparent(s) and the adoptive parents have their own attorney (see What about Costs? below for who pays for your attorney). The attorneys handle the paperwork and any special needs that you or the adoptive parents might have. Please see my warning about choosing the right agency above, as the exact same warnings apply to choosing the right attorney. I can tell you that I take a very personal interest in all of my adoption clients and you will not be just a business transaction to me.
"Open" and "Closed" Adoptions
Whether an adoption should be open or closed is a hotly debated topic in the adoption community. In the past most adoptions were closed. More recently, most adoptions are open - at least to some extent. I can help you understand the risks and benefits of each type, but the ultimate decision must be yours. Unlike many agencies or other attorneys, I will work with you no matter which type of adoption you choose.
Open Adoptions. An adoption is "open" if the parties involved know who each other are. An open adoption can range from just knowing the names of the other parties to knowing just about everything about them. Some open adoptions involve having ongoing contact throughout your baby's life. Again, there is no normal open adoption. We can work together to help you decide what you would like and then with the adoptive parents to create a plan that works for all of you.
In Oregon an open adoption usually has what is called an adoption agreement or open adoption agreement. This agreement might cover how often you expect to get together for visits, how often pictures and letters will be sent, or just about anything else. We are very lucky that, in Oregon, this is a legally binding agreement and enforceable in court. Birthparents all across the country are concerned (and frustrated) about adoptive parents not holding up their end of the agreement. You do not need to have that same level of concern here in Oregon. You should be aware that an agreement could be modified or not upheld by a court if the court were to find that to do so would not be in the best interest of the child.
Closed Adoptions. A closed adoption is the opposite of an open adoption. In a closed adoption you don't have the same involvement with the adoptive parents (although you still might know something about them) and you don't have any ongoing contact. Closed adoptions are rare these days but some people are still more comfortable with the idea of a closed adoption. There are quite a few agencies and attorneys out there who are not desirous of helping you in a closed adoption; I am not one of them. My own adoption is a closed adoption.
A Safe Place for Newborns
All too often we are hearing about parents who leave their baby in a bathroom somewhere or do something else drastic because they were not ready to parent or didn't want someone to find out they were pregnant. Oregon has enacted safe-haven legislation to provide birthparents with an alternative to these horrible situations. If your baby is less than 30 days old you may leave him/her at a hospital, a doctor's office, a fire station, a police station, a birthing center or a county health department. You do not have to call ahead and you do not have to leave any information about yourself or your baby. Your baby will be placed into the custody of the Department of Human Services (previously known as CSD) and will be taken care of. As long as your baby has not been abused there will be no charges brought against you.
I tell you about the Safe Place for Newborns so that you know it exists. Rarely do I believe that it is the best choice for you or your baby. If you find yourself in a position of having had a baby and you just can't deal with him/her for whatever reason, PLEASE give me a call immediately. I can help you place your baby into a safe place and then you and I can work out your options. We can find the right resources for you and your baby, or if appropriate, the right adoptive parents. If you choose to work with me this way, our relationship is covered by attorney/client privilege. In most cases, as long as your baby is safe and has not been abused (nor is being abused) you can remain in control and not have the state involved in your or your baby's life.
What About Costs or Expenses?
This is a question everyone has. Generally there are no expenses relating to the adoption for birthparents. Whether you choose an agency or an independent adoption, the adoptive parents usually end up paying your expenses. If you have special needs relating to your pregnancy those needs can also be met by the adoptive parents. I cannot give you an exhaustive list of what expenses can be paid for by adoptive parents but I can tell you that if it is a legitimate expense it will normally be taken care of. In an independent adoption you will not even have to pay for your attorney.
There are limitations with regard to expenses. Oregon Law (like most states) prohibits the selling of a baby and you cannot be paid "for your consent." In other words you cannot take $1,000 from the adoptive parents in order to agree to place your baby with them. Also, only a licensed adoption agency can be paid to make a match for you. Please be very cautious of any "intermediary" (including an attorney) who is being paid to make a match for you. You should also be aware that even though the adoptive parents are paying your attorney's fees for the adoption, you should not expect them to pay your attorney's fees to later challenge the adoption or to try and change your mind.
Adoption is a way for you to provide a good life for your baby, not a way for you to make some extra money.
Especially for Birthdads
You probably have heard stories about fathers who have had their rights taken away without even knowing that they had a child. Yes, it can happen. As a birthdad you need to know that Oregon provides some very special protections for you - BUT YOU HAVE TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THEM. If you have not taken the correct steps, the birthmom is allowed to place your baby for adoption without your consent. Once that happens, it may very well be too late for you to do anything about it. Oregon law makes it very clear that if you sleep with someone, it is your responsibility to follow through and determine if she is pregnant. If so, and if you want to take on your responsibilities as a parent or have a say in the adoption, you must act NOW!
Many people tell me how "unfair" it is that you can loose your baby without even knowing it. Fair or not, that is how it is. But we can protect your rights. Even if you are a birthdad that does not want to exercise your rights and you are okay with the birthmom placing the baby for adoption there are still quite a few reasons for you to speak to an adoption attorney. Two of the biggest are having input on choosing the adoptive parents for your baby and being involved in the open adoption agreement. You should also know that most adoptive parents want your involvement in the adoption. My suggestion to you is that you should talk to an adoption attorney immediately if you think someone might be pregnant with your child.
Questions and Answers
This section is still in development. There are a lot of standard questions that many birthparents have and I will try to get the answers to some of them up here shortly. More importantly, I want to have this area developed based on your questions. If you would like to see something in this section please give me a call or send me an email and ask me to put them up here.
If you have any questions or would like to discuss your adoption matters,
please give me a call.
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