If you have been following us for any length of time, you know that Adoption Choices of Colorado supports and encourages open adoption. Not only have open adoptions become a very popular option in the adoption industry, they also permit birth mothers to be more actively involved in the adoption process overall. It is because of this, and the other benefits of open adoption, that this is the most positive path to family and keeps everyone’s best interests at heart.
When you decide to place your baby for adoption, you may wonder about your rights as a birth mother with open adoption. How much control you have, if you are able to select your baby’s adoptive parents and what your agreement with the adoptive parents will look like once the adoption has been finalized. You’ve come to the right place! We have the insight for these concerns and others that will give you peace of mind and confidence in your adoption journey.
The decision to choose adoption is not easy. Nor is it one that you need to make on your own. We understand how essential it is for you to stay healthy and well taken care of. We will work with you to develop an adoption plan that you are 100% comfortable with. Our agency provides you with the support, encouragement and comfort you need and deserve through counseling and legal representation. Both of these services come at no cost to you.
Our counseling services are also available to the birth father if he is interested, as well as your other family members and any children you may have. We want you to have the best support system possible, and we believe that helping others understand adoption will set you all up for success.
2) Selecting the Adoptive Parents
A major part of your adoption journey is choosing who will raise your child. Because you want the best for your child, you may have certain criteria you are looking for in a potential match. For instance, you may want your child to be raised in a city or within a diverse neighborhood. If you had a pet growing up, you may find yourself selecting potential adoptive parents who have pets in their household. What about other siblings? Educational backgrounds? Religious preferences? Same sex parents or single parents?
There are many factors that go into selecting the right adoptive parents. Yet, it’s important to remember that there is no such thing as a “perfect” adoptive parent match. Your adoption caseworker will help you determine the most important qualities and choose adoptive parent profile books based on that. From there, you can select potential matches who you feel would be the best fit.
3) Naming the Baby
Another one of your rights as a birth mother with open adoption includes the option to name your baby. So, if you have a name that you’ve always liked or one that has a special family significance to it, you have two options. You can record it on your baby’s Original Birth Certificate (OBC) in the hospital or you can talk with the adoptive parents about naming either the baby’s first or middle name. The adoptive parents are not legally bound to keep the name you choose in the OBC, but having open communication with them is still vital to this part of the adoption process.
If you don’t want to name your baby, you don’t have to. The choice is completely up to you. But, it’s important for you to know that you have this right and option as a birth mother with open adoption.
4) Spending Time with the Baby at the Hospital
Until you sign the relinquishment paperwork and terminate your parental rights, you are still the baby’s primary guardian. So, if you want to spend extra time or an hour or two alone with the baby, it is completely within your rights as a birth mother with an open adoption to do so. Even if this is a last minute change to your previously arranged hospital plan. Because of the heightened emotions, thought-to-be-solid plans can go out the window. But this is perfectly acceptable. Your adoption caseworker will be present at the hospital with you to ensure that the adoptive parents know the change, and that you get the time you want and deserve with your baby.
The moments you have in the hospital after labor and delivery are ones that you’ll never get back. These will be the first and last moments you’ll hold your baby as his or her rightful parent. You’ll be saying both hello and goodbye. So, take all the time you need. There is absolutely no rush.
5) Continuing Contact with the Adoptive Parents
The amount of contact you have with your child’s adoptive parents and your child themselves will vary depending on the open adoption agreement you have. In the beginning, if you need space to grieve, that’s ok. The adoptive parents will understand. They can still send you pictures and updates through ChildConnect, a safe and confidential database to save and share memories. These images will be available for whenever you are ready to see them, and may also help in your grieving process. Knowing that your child is happy, healthy and safe can give you an immense peace of mind and sense of comfort that you made the right decision. Remember that Colorado state cannot legally enforce contact after placement, so it’s important to establish open communication with the adoptive parents and work out an acceptable post placement agreement. Your adoption caseworker can help with this.
An open adoption itself can provide a continual sense of encouragement and reassurance. It provides you with the opportunity to establish a life-long relationship with your child’s adoptive parents and lets you bond with your child as you watch them grow and develop into who they were meant to be.
Bonus: Post Placement Support
After the adoption has been finalized, you may find yourself struggling with feelings of guilt and loss. Even though you willingly placed your baby for adoption and know that you made the right choice, these emotions are very common. These, along with others, are all part of the natural grieving process that takes place. But you don’t have to battle alone. There are resources available that can help you through this difficult time.
One of these beneficial resources is the support group through our partnership with LifeTime Healing. This group meets once a month for two hours and is open for all birth mothers. Ashley Mitchell, the President of LifeTime Healing, founded the organization in August 2017 after seeing the great need for birth mother support. She is a birth mother herself.
Other resources include, but are not limited to: lifelong counseling, counseling with your caseworker when needed throughout the years, and a mentorship program where we partner previous birth parents with others who have just placed. If you are interested in learning more about any of these, please give us a call!
Your Rights as a Birth Mother
The days where women didn’t have control of their adoption journeys are long gone. As a birth mother, you have the right to choose and be involved with the whole process of open adoption. This is one of the many reasons we advocate for open adoption at Adoption Choices of Colorado. We feel that this level of openness in adoption keeps everyone’s best interests at heart – not only you and your child’s, but the adoptive parents’, too. Open adoption illustrates the truly beautiful meaning behind the adoption triad.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding your rights as a birth mother with open adoption, give us a call! We’d love to hear from you and get you started on your adoption journey.
Adoption Choices of Colorado
Adoption Choices, Inc. is a private, non-profit adoption agency licensed by the state and leader in the adoption community. We have been assisting birth parents, children, and adoptive parents in Colorado since 2002. Our staff has a genuine commitment to providing an empathetic, empowering, and progressive experience to all involved in the adoption process. For more information on adoption please contact Adoption Choices of Colorado. We can be reached via our website or phone 303-670-4401.
Support Adoption Choices
Adoption Choices, Inc. is partnering with Crowdrise, a fundraising website for nonprofits, to help our adoptive parents and birth parents with much needed financial assistance. We understand that expenses keep clients from fulfilling their dreams. Both with birth parents making a plan for adoption, and with adoptive parents growing their family. It is our mission to provide financial assistance through grants and scholarships, awarded annually in November, in honor of National Adoption Month. Funds assist adoptive parents with matching and placements, adoption finalization and helping birth mothers improve their lives through higher education — and much more.
However, we can’t do it alone. Please read up on our programs and donate money where you are able. Your donation will make a huge impact.
About the Author
Rachel Robertson is a published journalist, book editor, certified Publishing Specialist, and aspiring novelist. She graduated from Central Washington University (CWU) in March 2011, having found her writing voice within the Creative Nonfiction genre and grew to work as a freelance book editor for small presses all across the United States.
In June 2018, she embarked on an internship with Virginia Frank and came on board with Adoption Choices Inc., Not for Profit 501(c)(3), in December 2018. Between her mutual passion with adoption and surrogacy, and her own personal history with adoption, Rachel is excited to research and share topics each week that will spread awareness and better serve the faithful patrons of Adoption Choices Inc.
When Rachel isn’t haunting her local Starbucks or Barnes and Noble, she’s avidly pouring over her Writer’s Digest subscription or cozying up with a cup of tea and book. She currently resides in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her beloved wife and Border Collie.
“Birth Parents’ Rights after an Open Adoption.” Hg.org, HG Legal Resources, www.hg.org/legal-articles/birth-parents-rights-after-an-open-adoption-52201.
“Ongoing Contact With Birth Families in Adoption.” Ongoing Contact With Birth Families in Adoption – Child Welfare Information Gateway, www.childwelfare.gov/topics/adoption/adoptive/before-adoption/openness/.
“Open Adoption Rights: Open Adoption Rules.” Help With Adoption, helpwithadoption.com/steps-to-adoption/understanding-open-adoption/what-are-my-rights-in-open-adoption/.
“Open Adoptions FAQ.” Findlaw, 14 Nov. 2018, family.findlaw.com/adoption/faq-about-open-adoptions.html.