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Birthparents, call 877-236-7897 A Fully Licensed Non-Profit Adoption Agency in PA DE NJ and NY serving Adoptive Families in Domestic and International Adoptions and Birth Parents Nationwide

Frequently Asked Questions About Domestic Adoption

Does Adoption House actively help us locate a birth mother?

Yes. We at Adoption House, Inc., focus our advertising efforts on locating potential birth parents. We only work with a limited number of active adoptive parents at a time; consequently, our average wait to be selected by a birth mother is far shorter than the majority of other adoption agencies in the country.

Traditional attorneys and agencies do not have an outreach policy, let alone an aggressive, extensive and proven adoption search program. Their primary focus is to assist you only on either the emotional and/or legal aspects of the adoption process.

By working with Adoption House, Inc., you are getting the best of all three services: we have an established, proven and successful outreach and adoption search program; we have trained, dedicated compassionate agency staff who work with birthparents to help them in planning adoption and finding adoptive parents for their baby; and we have excellent experienced adoption attorneys to assist you in determining the best legal course to take with your specific adoption scenario.

Why do some couples opt to use Adoption House vs. running their own ads?

Time, expense, privacy and emotional stress are a few of the reasons we discuss with our clients.

  • Expense:

    It is not uncommon for couples to spend thousands of dollars on newspaper advertising without getting results. Recent clients of ours explained they spent over $7,000 on 19 newspaper ads that ran for only two weekends. At the end of those two weeks they did not have a single response form a birth mother! We at Adoption House recognized the need for a better, more reliable method for couples to find birth mothers considering adoption, and thereafter, for couples and birthparents to be assisted throughout the entire adoption process. We have tailored our service to meet that need.

    Our outreach fees are flat fees paid quarterly. Instead of requiring our couples to pay an exorbitant outreach fee up-front, we are fair. Let's say you went with some other outreach program which requested a $15,000 outreach fee up front valid for one year of outreach, and that other organization was lucky enough to match you with a birthparent in the first two weeks of placing your ads. "Wonderful", you'd say, "but where is the rest of my $15,000?" At Adoption House, we want you to pay only for the advertising that is actually performed for you on your behalf. With our program you will benefit from thousands of dollars each month in multi-state advertising until you have a baby.
  • Stress:

    When placing your own newspaper ads, you must be a master organizer to insure the proper selection of papers, supervise the placement and accuracy of the ad itself, and gauge the success of the ads. In addition, assuming you are able to locate birth parents with the ad, you will then be receiving phone calls from individuals about whom you know nothing. You should answer calls 24 hours a day in order not to miss an opportunity. This is very stressful and risky since you have so much emotion invested. You may not be able to detach enough to properly access the risks, problems, etc.
  • Time:

    Adoption House has experienced live birth-parent counselors who answer the birth mother line 7 days a week 24 hours a day. We do not use an impersonal voice mail system or uninterested answering service. Our counselors engage these women, and in doing so the birth mother calls are pre-screened for you. Prior to your first contact with a birth mother, you will already have some basic information about her. She will have also already seen and read your "Dear Birth Mother Letter." We will coach you on how to handle your initial call to the birth mother, and be there on the line with you to assist in the conversation. From there, we move the process forward, assisting you again, with every step of the adoption process.
  • Experience:

    Adoption House has extensive experience working with potential birth mothers. The initial call from a birth mother is a very difficult and emotional time. It is important she have the opportunity to speak with a live person; one who will treat her with respect and understanding. Each one of our birth parent counselors are trained professionals, each boasting over 7 years of experience in birthparent counseling, and each licensed Social Workers with Masters Degrees in Social Work. Our sincere and heartfelt approach is what prompts many birth mothers to work with us, and as a result she will hopefully choose one of our families. Inexperienced individuals can become very nervous during these critical initial calls. They can unintentionally say inappropriate things, use offensive language, or behave in other manners which may turn off a prospective birth parent. Even though some inexperienced individuals have the best of intentions, they can very well lose what might have been a good situation.

Why use Adoption House vs. the Internet?

While the internet has been a source of some success, the overwhelming majority of couples do not get contacted by birth mothers through the web. True, there are literally millions of people on the Internet at any one time but the vast majority of those looking for adoption information are not birth mothers. Consequently, you can be inundated with inquires from everybody except those that you are looking for - women facing an unplanned pregnancy who are hoping to find a home for their unborn infant. Also, there is the misconception that all one needs to do is create a web site and they will come. Not necessarily true. Search engines, such as Yahoo, Excite, Google, etc., would need to be able to find your site. There is so much information out there, that individual's web sites usually get lost amongst all the other sites. Our belief is that the Internet is not the first place where adoptive parents should focus all of their search efforts. You should look at the Internet as just one of many resources available, but for adoptions, it is not the utopia that many believe it to be.

The other potential problem you need to be aware of is the proliferation of scams and misinformation being placed on the web. If you have watched the news recently the Internet can be a place where sick criminals play on the emotions of adopting couples by trying to sell infants, etc. Users beware!

What is a "Dear Birth Mother" letter? How do we begin writing one?

The "Dear Birth Mother" letter or "profile" as we tend to call it is your story to potential birthparents. It should tell a little bit about who you are as a couple and why you want to be parents. It should be warm, loving, and emotional. It should accurately reflect who you are. A birthmother is going to read or see something in your profile that will connect with her and she will want you to be the couple to raise her baby. We hear this all the time.

Pictures should give a birth mother a glimpse into your life. Adoption House will provide you with guidelines for the content of your letter.

What happens after the initial birth mother call?

Adoption House obtains preliminary information about potential birth mothers prior to presenting them to our clients. After the initial conversation with a birth mother, we advise our clients to keep their emotions in check until the following steps have been taken to substantiate the information.

  1. We do a phone assessment as soon as possible to advise you of any potential legal risks.
  2. Proof of pregnancy and picture(s) are obtained.
  3. We arrange for a social worker or attorney in the birth mother's state to do an initial face-to-face assessment of the birth mother. This has proven to be a valuable step in protecting adoptive couples from going too far with a bad situation. A lot can come out in a face-to-face meeting that can be hidden in a phone call.

Will I be able to get pictures, detailed family background information, medical records, etc. before I speak to a birth mother?

In most cases a birth mother wants to pick an adopting couple and have at least one phone conversation before she provides every detail of her life. These women are looking for the right couple and the right adoption professional. They may be calling several places to learn about adoption and to find a couple in whom they are interested. Once a woman has had a chance to emotionally connect with you, and she decides you are the couple she wants to place her baby with, she will normally have no problem completing family background forms, medical releases, etc.

Typically, all of the information necessary for you to determine if this situation is right for you will be obtained within 2 to 3 weeks after that first phone call. During this period you should try not to become too emotionally involved, however just consider this as a tentative situation that needs more time and information to gel into a solid match. However, if you postpone your first phone call until you have all the necessary background forms, etc. you will limit yourself and possibly lose a potentially good situation.

What is an adoption home study?

Prior to finalizing an adoption, all adopting parent(s) must complete an extensive home study in their state. This home study usually involves several interviews as well as medical, criminal & financial background checks. Upon successful completion, this home study will certify that the adopting parent(s) are qualified to adopt. This process typically takes 30 to 60 days to complete. If you reside in Delaware, or Pennsylvania, we at Adoption House can do your home study for you. If you reside outside these states, we will be happy to recommend such service providers in your state. Most states require that you have a completed home study prior to taking custody of a child for adoption. It is sometimes possible to start your search for potential birth parents while you are completing your home study.

Will I be required to pay living expenses for a birth mother?

Many states allow birth mothers to receive assistance with pregnancy related expenses. Laws do vary from state to state, however, you should anticipate living expenses of $1,000 to $3,000 (on average). We recommend adopting couples defer all expense-related issues to us. It is never a good idea to get into conversations about money with a birth mother. If a birth mother asks you a question about money you should tell her that you understand her need and will have Adoption House contact her to see if this expense is allowable.

How soon will I be expected to assist with birth parent living expenses?

This will vary from case to case based on the needs of the birth mother. Some women will not need help for a couple of months while others may have very immediate needs, (i.e., shelter, food, etc.).

It is not recommended that you give any financial assistance prior to receiving a proof of pregnancy. Once the proof of pregnancy is received you should rely on us for direction. Occasionally you may be asked to provide some assistance on an emergency basis while you are still deciding if this situation is one you are going to pursue. This "emergency" assistance should be limited in time and amount. Again we are always available to our clients to be consulted for guidance in these situations.

Do I have to pay medical expenses?

The majority of the birth mothers who contact Adoption House either have medical coverage or will qualify for medical coverage. We always encourage a woman to get state aid for her own protection in case of a medical emergency where costs can go sky high. Most birth mothers are willing to apply for coverage if they don't already have it. If a birth mother has private insurance you will be asked to cover any co-pays or deductibles. All states allow for reimbursements to a birth mother for out of pocket medical expenses.

Can we specify the sex of the baby?

Adoption House does not work with couples that are gender specific. Many of the birth parents that contact us do not know the sex of the child and most are too young to require an amniocentesis. Ultra sounds are not 100% accurate. It has happened many times that an ultrasound boy is born a girl or visa versa. Birth mothers connect emotionally to the couple they select and they are devastated when a couple decides not to adopt her child because of the gender.

How open do we need to be during and after the adoption process?

The degree of openness you have with birth parents depends on your comfort level. Most birth parents want to talk to you by phone and meet you once before the birth. Often times a birth mother wants to be able to talk to you to share her pregnancy with you. Prior to the birth you may find that some birth mothers rely on you emotionally. Often you may be the only person who is excited about her pregnancy. During the pregnancy these women's lives are somewhat on hold and therefore they are more emotionally needy than they will be after the birth. If you are able to be a friend during this time and open yourself to her it can be the gel that holds your adoption together. At the time of birth when a birth mother is flooded with emotion she will think of who you are and it can reassure her of her decision.

Do most birthparents want fully open adoptions?

Typically birth mothers want pictures and updates after the birth. Many times they don’t know if they will want the information sent on a regular basis or only upon request. Post placement contact should be well defined prior to the birth so that there is no confusion after the birth. We often talk to birth mothers about this on our initial intake, and then spend time later in the process defining what a woman wants for post placement contact, since her needs may change during the pregnancy.

A small percent of birth mothers want visitation after the birth and a small percent of adopting couples are comfortable with that degree of openness. You will not be presented to birth parents that want visitation after birth, unless you have specified that you are open to that type of contact. The degree of openness is up to you.

How long does it typically take to be chosen by a birth mother?

Although we cannot give you a guarantee, our average wait over the past seven years has been 6 months. Couples with kids sometimes have to wait longer - typically 9 to 12 months. Openness to race or special circumstances can shorten your wait..

Our goal is to introduce you to a birth mother in the shortest amount of time possible, however we cannot give a time guarantee since birth mothers must ultimately select adoptive parents. We will present your "Dear Birth Mother Letters" to birth parents, however we cannot influence a birth mother in her selection of adoptive parents.

How many couples does Adoption House work with at a time?

We limit our number of active clients which enables us to maximize each client's exposure. This is one of the main advantages Adoption House has over other adoption service providers. Often times attorneys, agencies or facilitators will tell you they spend "X" amount on advertising, but what they fail to tell you is that they take in an unlimited number of clients, which greatly slows down the process and dramatically increases the wait.

How often does a birth mother change her mind?

The goal is to determine a woman's commitment prior to the birth of a baby. At Adoption House we feel strongly that birth mothers receive counseling prior to the birth. We have trained, experienced counselors who specialize in adoption-related issues. This counseling can help a woman prepare for the flood of emotions she may feel at birth. It should also help uncover any ambivalence she may have about adoption. When a birth mother is properly counseled throughout the process, the chances of her changing her mind at birth are greatly diminished - to about one out of twenty.

What rights do birth father's have?

If a woman is legally married her husband is the presumed father and his rights are equal to hers, he must also agree to the adoption. If the identified birth father is not married to the birth mother he is called an assumed father and his rights will vary from state to state. We will arrange for birth fathers that are supportive of the adoption to meet with an adoption attorney or agency in their state who will advise him of the laws and obtain his consent to the adoption. Time frames for the consent will vary from state to state.

If a birth father is not willing to sign papers and is not in agreement with the adoption we will contact him immediately to determine if he wants to parent or if he is just being difficult. If a birth father will not willingly consent to the adoption, but he is not going to fight it, there may be steps that can be taken to terminate his rights altogether. Again, these steps vary from state-to-state and we will consult with you to determine how to proceed.

What is the profile of a typical birth mother?

Since our beginning we have encountered many types of situations. One thing that surprises most couples is the fact that most unwed teens do not place their children for adoption. The younger the woman the more likely she is to parent. Also, certain ethnic groups are less likely to place.

The average birth mother is in her 20s. About 50% of the women with whom we work have one or more children that they are parenting. These women know what it takes to raise a child and they feel they are not able to give another child the emotional or financial security he or she may need without taking away from the kid(s) she already has. Most women who make the decision to place a child for adoption do so because they cannot afford to raise a child. Lack of financial resources is the number one reason women consider adoption.

What are birth mothers looking for in an adoptive couple?

Most birth mothers are hoping to find a loving home for their child. You do not need to be the youngest, most attractive, richest couple to be selected. Birth mothers are attracted to couples who convey genuine warmth and honesty in their letters. You should not try to be something you are not in order to be selected. Put your heart on paper and it will attract a birth mother who is looking for the things you have to offer.

Some birth mothers have preferences about different things, which are usually uncovered during the initial phone call. These preferences usually involve religion, lifestyle, etc. Out of the thousands of birth mothers we have talked to over the years we have learned there is someone for everyone. The key is exposure and getting your letter out to as many birth mothers as possible.

We already have one or two children; will a birth mother still choose us?

Although some birth mothers do say they prefer a couple without kids, at least 40% of our clients already have children and they are still able to successfully adopt a second or even a third child. If you have children the average wait is nine to twelve months, rather than six months for couples without kids.

Are we too old to adopt?

Over the years we have found birth mothers are more interested in a couples lifestyle and attitude than their chronological age. If you have an active, youthful lifestyle chronological age may not be an issue. The average adoptive couple is in their early 40s. However, we have had many successful adoptions where a couple is in their late 40s and even early 50s. How you present yourself in the birth mother letter will have a large effect on the selection process.

How many couples does Adoption House present to a birth mother?

While talking to a birth mother, we ask what she is hoping to find in an adoptive couple. We ask her questions such as:

  • Does their religion matter?
  • Do you want a stay at home mother?
  • Are you hoping to have any post placement contact? If so, how much?
  • Are you open to a couple that has one or more children?
  • Are there any other traits or characteristics you hope to find?

Based on her answers to these questions, we send her birth mother letters that fit her requirements. Typically we send 4 to 8 letters per call. Because we only work with a limited number of clients, you do not have to compete with hundreds of other couples looking to adopt.

Can we specify that we only want birth mothers from a specific State?

Technically yes, however we would not recommend our services if that were your desire. Adoption House provides multi-state advertising and if you limit your criteria to only one or two states you would only benefit from a small fraction of our ads.

 
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