While most women who contact our agency are in the very early stages of the adoption process, some women we work with have already found an adoptive family. These women often ask us, “Can my friend adopt my baby?”
Whether they plan on giving a baby up for adoption to a close friend, family member, or someone they’ve met through their own networking efforts, these arrangements are known as independent, or identified, adoption.
If this describes your situation, American Adoptions can offer the same services to you that we offer to all other prospective birth mothers. Here, learn more about identified adoption and the ways American Adoptions can help.
It seems like a perfect scenario: “I want my friend to adopt my baby, and my friend wants to adopt my baby.” But before having a friend adopt your baby, it is important to consider whether this is truly the best possible outcome for yourself and your child. Consider the following questions:
How well do you know the potential adoptive parents? Many expectant mothers initially feel more comfortable with identified adoption because they already know and trust the adoptive family. But how well do you really know them? Are they truly close friends, or someone you met through mutual friends or acquaintances? Keep in mind that these hopeful parents likely have not completed the thorough screening process all of American Adoptions’ families go through.
What makes you think these people are the perfect family for your child? Finding the perfect adoptive parents is key to a positive, successful adoption experience. Make sure you are not just choosing your baby’s adoptive family because it is convenient, because you already know them or because they live nearby. Really think about the qualities you want in an adoptive family, and ensure the parents you choose possess those.
Are you prepared to respect your friend’s parenting style and decisions? Just like in non-identified adoption, when your friend adopts your baby, you will no longer have parental rights for him or her. You may not always agree with the way your friends choose to parent, and it can be difficult to let go of control and respect their decisions.
Are you prepared for your relationship with your friend to change? While before you were just friends, you will now forever be connected as your baby’s birth mother and adoptive parent. This is a very different, unique type of relationship, and it is important to understand that there may be new boundaries and other shifts in your friendship.
Will you be comfortable seeing your child and the adoptive parents on a regular basis? Depending on the type of relationship you have with your baby’s adoptive family, you may see them often after placement. For some birth parents, this frequent contact can be a difficult reminder of their loss, and can make it difficult for them to find closure.
Will you be getting the services you need? As a woman considering adoption, you are entitled to many free services as well as financial assistance during your pregnancy. If you choose to place your baby directly with a friend rather than working with an agency, you may find it difficult to ask for financial assistance to cover your adoption and pregnancy-related living expenses. You may also be missing out on the other benefits offered by an agency, like emotional counseling and support, adoption planning, scholarship opportunities, and more.
If you are pregnant and considering adoption, it is because you truly want to do what is best for your child. Before letting a friend adopt your baby, make sure they are truly the perfect family for him or her. If not, American Adoptions works with hundreds of waiting families from many different backgrounds, and we provide all of the services you need to find your perfect match.
If you choose to proceed with an identified adoption, you may think that an adoption agency’s services are unnecessary. However, by completing the adoption independently, you could be missing out on a number of valuable services, resources and support.
Even if you have already chosen adoptive parents for your baby, an agency like American Adoptions can provide many other valuable services you and the adoptive family will need to complete the adoption process. Remember, this is still your adoption plan, and you are still entitled to receive the following free adoption services:
Living Expenses: Each state allows the adoptive family to cover a certain amount of your pregnancy-related expenses, including rent, transportation, utilities, groceries and more. An Adoption Specialist can talk to you more about the types of living expenses you may eligible to receive based on the court system, what they will allow, and how to receive them from the adoptive family.
Medical Expenses: American Adoptions works with a third-party company to assist with Medicaid Coverage for you and your baby — something the adoptive family probably wouldn’t know how to do — which ensures that you aren’t left with medical bills once the adoption is completed. Please keep in mind that regardless of whether you have insurance or not, or you are on Medicaid, we will be able to assist you.
Adoption Counseling and Education: Even though you’ve already located an adoptive family, it is still important that you have a qualified social worker to talk to throughout the adoption process and your pregnancy. We provide unlimited counseling and ongoing support to all of our birth mothers. In addition, we assist with your hospital plan, communicate and work alongside hospital staff to ensure all policies and procedures are followed. Our Adoption Specialists are available 24/7 to answer any of your concerns or to simply be there whenever you need them most.
Legal Services: We will make sure you have your own legal counsel to represent you and your best interests during the relinquishment periods. These legal services are provided at no charge to you. The adoptive family will have a different adoption attorney so there would be no conflict of interest in your adoption plan and your legal rights are protected.
Scholarship: Every year, American Adoptions awards thousands of dollars in scholarships to help women who have chosen adoption begin or continue their college careers.
American Adoptions will do everything we can to assist your adoptive family with the paperwork process and get approved for adoption. However, if unforeseen challenges occur with the adoptive family, for example, not passing the necessary background checks and clearances, American Adoptions has hundreds of legally adoption-ready families who’ve already passed all of their background checks. Additionally, our adoptive families are prepared to assist you with living, medical and legal expenses.
Whether you choose identified adoption or pick from our waiting families, remember that this is your adoption, and you are always in control of your adoption plan. Contact one of our Adoption Specialists today at 1-800-ADOPTION to learn more about how we can help with an independent adoption and the services both we and an adoptive family can provide you.
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