So many times in adoption, all the focus is on the adopting parents.
People share their infertility stories or their faith commitment on social media and with friends and families. Women experiencing an unexpected pregnancy are seen as simply the way for the adopting parents to get their baby. It’s hard to get in the way of their excitement and joy, but no one need ever feel put down or be ignored for choosing to place their child for adoption. No matter how young or old you are, as an expectant mom, you have rights.
These rights include:
- Be treated with respect and honesty.
- Have an advocate for support before, during, and after the adoption placement.
- Ask questions and receive answers about all steps of the process.
- Review and understand all legal paperwork before you sign it.
- Receive emergency living expenses totaling up to $4,000.
- Receive counseling services before, during and after the adoption placement.
- Change your mind about placing your child at any point before you sign consents for the adoption.
- Choose the family who adopts your child.
- Know how the adoptive family has been screened and evaluated.
- See, hold, and care for your baby in the hospital.
Rights always come along with responsibilities. These responsibilities include:
- Treating others involved in your adoption with respect and honesty.
- Let your advocate know your questions, thoughts and feelings before, during, and after the adoption placement.
- Ask questions!
- Request a copy of the legal paperwork before you make a firm commitment to adoption.
- Use the emergency living expenses as intended.
- Use counseling services to help process your grief and provide a way to move forward.
- Be honest if you are not planning on moving forward with an adoption plan.
- Think about what type of family would be best for your child.
- Ask what screening measures were done by the adoptive family to insure not just a safe home but one where adoption is celebrated.
- Being available for your child when they have questions about their identity.
No single list is all inclusive. Maybe the best way to think about rights and responsibilities is to remember the Golden Rule—that is to treat others as you want to be treated.