Just as many people have misconceptions about expectant mothers, expectant or birth mothers have some misconceptions about agencies. We often hear that an expectant mother prefers not to go through an agency to place her child. While all expectant mothers have choices, it’s important to consider the pros and cons of those choices.
Some expectant parents don’t know that ALL adoptive families working with licensed adoption agencies are pre-screened and fingerprint background checked. It’s hard to stress how important this is. It weeds out anyone who may be seeking to adopt for the wrong reasons (something you can’t do as an individual). Before being accepted to an agency, a potential adoptive parent(s) must have a completed home study. In a home study, there is a significant amount of background work that is done (fingerprinting for criminal background, health verification from family physicians, a number of interviews and physical home checks). During this time, professionals are trained to spot any potential problems. Generally, adoptive parents pass their home studies with flying colors. But when they don’t, it’s because of something that has been discovered in the process. This is something that an expectant parent needs help to accomplish, and certainly should not be expected to do on her own. In addition, a home study is required to finalize an adoption.
Speaking of finalization, there have been cases where, when an expectant mother has placed a child with someone they know or someone they’ve chosen (via friend-of-a-friend or online) and, because they don’t know the law or the procedures, an adoption has never been formally finalized. This means that the law doesn’t even know about the adoption. This is a problem for several reasons, the big ones being inheritance, legal representation (such as to enroll in school or consent to medical treatment), and potential for identity theft/fraud.
Additionally, adoptive parents need to understand why using an agency for your expectant or birth mom is so important, not just for her, but you as well. Adoptive parents are concerned about being scammed. No one likes to talk about it, but scamming is real in the adoption world. Someone (not even always female), seeks adoptive parents out on line because they know they are vulnerable, and look for a way to collect money from them. They refuse to go through an agency because it “feels too impersonal” or doesn’t want more paperwork. It often works. So, of course, adoptive parents are wary of expectant moms who don’t want to go through an agency or attorney and be identified. If you are considering placing a child for adoption, understand that adoptive parents may be asking you to contact an attorney or an agency for this reason, to make sure that you are both legally protected.
Agencies employ social workers or adoption counselors who work to make a viable adoption plan for all involved. The social worker can help set expectations for both expectant parents and adoptive parents that are realistic and workable. This helps to avoid miscommunication or mistakes. Everyone can relax and know that their adoption will go according to plan and if any potential problems arise, there is help to resolve them.
For these reasons and for the protection of the expectant mother and her wishes, going through an agency is a better choice in order to assure that everything is being done appropriately. Of course, there are always rumors and stories to the contrary, but we encourage expectant mothers to make sure that they are working with a reputable agency. Once that has been established, the expectant mother, the child, and the adoptive parents – all members of the triad – will be protected and the adoption done legally and above-board.
Adoption is not one of those things you should take chances with. If you are a expectant mother, talk to us about what the agency can do to help and what rights you have as a expectant mom. It’s important that you have all the facts before making this life-changing decision about adoption.
Are you pregnant or considering making an adoption plan for your already born child? Check out the homestudy approved waiting families through A Gift of Hope! Yes, we are looking out for you by checking up on them!